Business for Scotland dinner
Westminster ‘architect of uncertainty’ says FM
The UK no longer provides stability and security for Scotland, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told guests at a business dinner in Glasgow.
In a rallying cry for independence she said the union was responsible for uncertainty and the threat to jobs and investment.
Speaking to more than 300 pro-independence supporters at the Business for Scotland annual dinner, she said: “The only thing that is clear, therefore, is that the old arguments about the UK providing stability and security for Scotland are now utterly redundant.
“The uncertainty and the threat to jobs and investment are happening right now under the union.
“Westminster are the architects of uncertainty. And that is why it is absolutely right that we keep the option of independence on the table if it becomes clear that our place in Europe – with all that it entails for jobs, investment and prosperity – simply cannot be protected within the UK.”
Business for Scotland welcomed Ms Sturgeon’s call to keep the option of independence on the table.
Speaking ahead of the sell-out dinner, BfS founder and chief executive Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp said: “Given that BfS led the business campaign for the UK to remain in the EU, we are delighted that the First Minister has chosen tonight to continue to highlight the risks for jobs, investment and prosperity in Scotland if our place in Europe is not secured.
“We have continually warned that Scotland would be harder hit by the economic fall out of the Brexit vote – it will cost our economy more than £2bn – and the current failure on behalf of Westminster to show leadership and a workable plan is deplorable.
“It’s beyond ironic that we now face being removed from Europe against our will despite the promises made to Scots prior to the 2014 referendum that we needed to stay in the UK to remain in Europe.
“Only with independence can we benefit from an economic plan for jobs, investment, growth and opportunity, and a workable trading relationship with the EU.”
Brexit and Scotland
> Earlier, Scottish MEP Alyn Smith welcomed the appointment of Guy Verhofstadt MEP as the European Parliament’s lead negotiator on Brexit.
Mr Verhofstadt, a former Prime Minister of Belgium, once tweeted: “It’s wrong that Scotland might be taken out of [the] EU when it voted to stay”, and declared he would be happy to discuss this with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
Mr Smyth said that days later, Mr Verhofstadt publicly stated that there was “”no big obstacle” to an independent Scotland being a full member state of the European Union.
Mr Smith said: “Guy’s appointment is good news – we can do business. He is a long-standing respected MEP, having negotiated Belgian politics, he will be able to corral 27 national interests and be pragmatic about finding solutions.
“He has also proven he is alive to the Scottish question and I have every confidence all the doors we need are open.
“Guy Verhofstadt has been a friend to Scotland in the immediate aftermath of the EU referendum, stating publicly that it was wrong for Scotland to be taken out of the EU when we voted to stay, and making sure our First Minister knew he was happy to meet with her to discuss this further.”