The Scottish First Minister has announced today that she is setting up a new Standing Council to advise the Scottish Government on how best to maintain – and protect – Scotland’s best interests in the EU.
And SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has also ordered the Scottish civil service to draw up draft legislation for approval in Holyrood to hold a new Scottish Independence referendum following the vote in favour of British Independence from the EU-bloc.
Sturgeon today told MPs in the Scottish Parliament: “I am establishing a Standing Council of experts to provide advice to me and my government on how best to achieve our EU objectives.
The Council will consider the impact of proposed changes to the UK’s relationship with the EU on Scottish interests and advise Scottish Ministers throughout our negotiations on the best way to secure Scottish interests and objectives.
Sturgeon added: “During the <Scottish> independence referendum, we were told that staying in the UK meant we could benefit from having guaranteed access to the EU – that was a driving factor in many people’s votes. That is no longer true.
“The country and the constitutional settlement the people of Scotland voted for in 2014 is no longer a reality. Based on the very clear result in Scotland, if we were to be removed from the EU, it would be against the will of our people. That would be democratically unacceptable.
“It is for that reason that I have said that everything must be on the table to protect our place in Europe – including a second independence referendum.
“And to ensure that the option of holding a referendum within the timeframe of UK negotiations on leaving the EU is viable, we will prepare the legislation now.
“However, let me clear about this – if the government does conclude that the best or only way to protect Scotland’s place in the EU is through a referendum on independence we will return to Parliament with that judgment and it will then, at that time, be for Parliament to decide.
Meanwhile, Scottish Industry Minister Keith Brown has again pledged Scot-Govt support for the oil and gas industry, while Scottish Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse meets senior representatives from the sector in Aberdeen later this week.
Brown said: “The oil and gas industry also needs continued support from the UK Government to sustain critical infrastructure hubs and support exploration activity. That includes taking steps to deliver on the commitment to provide loan guarantees for the sector. I will be meeting with the treasury tomorrow to urge them to act now on this issue and give the industry a major boost.”
The Standing Council will be chaired by Professor Anton Muscatelli, Principal of Glasgow University. It will also include: –
- Professor Sir David Edward, former judge of the European Court of Justice
- Dame Marriot Leslie, former UK ambassador to NATO
- Lord John Kerr, formerly head of the Diplomatic Service at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office
- John Kay, one of the country’s leading economists
- Prof. Anne Glover, former chief scientific adviser to the President of the European Commission
- Charles Grant, Director of the Centre for European Reform
- David Martin, a Labour Euro-MP and:
- Graeme Smith, General Secretary of the STUC.
Scottish Energy Association volunteers to act as ‘honest broker’ advisor to UK Govt and energy sector over British Independence from EU-Bloc
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