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Warning for UK on Scottish independence

Professor Richard Whitman, a leading commentator on foreign affairs at the University, has warned that the UK faces a ‘reduced role’ in Europe should Scotland vote for independence.

Professor Whitman, who is an Associate Fellow at Chatham House, was commenting following the publication of a House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee report on 1 May that included his evidence. He warned that the UK would move out of the ‘very top tier’ of EU member states should next year’s referendum decide in favour of Scotland going it alone.

He said: ‘The situation alters for the UK in the sense that it moves out of the very top tier of EU member states. It would no longer be one of the big three, if you like. It puts the UK into fourth place. If there is Turkish accession, the UK would obviously slip further down the list.

‘If you combine that with the current relationship that the UK has with the European Union, the questions that are being raised about what the nature of the relationship should be in the future and our decision to remain outside the single currency and Schengen and so on, it creates a situation in which the UK’s European Union policy, or its influence within the European Union, goes backwards rather than forwards.’

The House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee sixth report on ‘Foreign policy considerations for the UK and Scotland in the event of Scotland becoming an independent country’ was published on 1 May 2013.

Professor Richard G. Whitman is Professor of Politics and International Relations within the University’s School of Politics and International Relations.


Story published at 11:02am 2 May 2013

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Last Updated: 12/06/2013