Change of stance, Nicola? SNP branch under fire after welcoming hard border with England

Nicola Sturgeon branded a 'power mad Covid queen'

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A new study warned that Brexit has made the prospect of Scottish Independence more complex, sparking “new challenges” for the land border with England. The report entitled ‘An EU border across Britain: Scotland’s borders after independence’ also warned that “some form of border control and inspection facilities” would likely be needed along main roads leading into Scotland creating problems for businesses.

But the report has been hailed by an SNP branch who said the prospect of border checkpoints is “good”.

The Strathalmond SNP branch made up of Angela Constance MSP, Hannah Bardell MP and local councillors Carl John and John Muir appeared to back the prospect saying it would be “good and a “positive move”.

The branch tweeted: “This would be a positive move to ensure no cross-border criminal activity arising if Scotland rejoins the EU. Even in pre-Brexit Ireland, the Gardai policed the border to monitor cross borders issues such as petrol smuggling.”

Jamie Halcro Johnston MSP responded saying: “You don’t have to scratch far below the surface to find the “build a wall” nationalists.”

The introduction of border checks would mean some of the cross-border arrangements for an independent Scotland forecast in the 2014 referendum would no longer be possible now the UK has left the EU.

Founder of pro-union campaign group Scotland in Union Alastair Cameron accused First Minister Nicola Sturgeon of “a change of your parties stance” in response to the Strathalmond SNP branch tweet.

Mr Cameron added: “Nothing to see here, folks. Just an actual official @theSNPbranch welcoming prospect of a hard border between Scotland and the market for 60 percent of Scotland’s trade.”

Chief executive of the group Pamela Nash also warned hard borders would have a “devastating impact on businesses”.

She said: “It’s time for some honesty from the SNP about the reality of leaving the UK.

“Rather than build a barrier between friends and families, we have a successful future ahead of us as part of the UK, helping businesses grow, investing in schools and hospitals, and uniting our communities.”

If Scotland voted for independence, Ms Sturgeon has stated a key objective would be to rejoin the EU.

But the report, by Professors Katy Hayward and Nicola McEwen found an independent Scotland would have to ensure all goods and services entering the country meet strict EU standards.

The authors wrote: “As an EU member-state, Scotland would have to follow and apply EU customs and regulatory rules on goods circulating within it,” the authors wrote.

“This would change the status of the Scottish land border – 96 miles) of it – and the experience of crossing it.”

Professor McEwen said although rejoining the EU would open Scotland’s borders to Europe “reviving opportunities” it would also mean a new border between Scotland and the rest of the UK “requiring new processes, infrastructure, and bureaucracy to oversee Scotland’s trading relationship with the rest of the UK.”

professor Howard added: “The realities and complexities of titanic projects that change relationships between neighbouring countries can often become most evident at the borders between them.

“Just as we have seen with post-Brexit Britain, an independent Scotland in the EU would change the ‘what, how and where’ of movement across its borders.

“This would have ramifications for Scotland’s neighbours, as well as for itself.”

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