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Thursday, August 5, 2021

Sturgeon's place in UK rejected as England urged to sever ties with Scotland: 'No say!'

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The Scottish First Minister was this week accused of “discourtesy bordering on contempt” after announcing a Manchester travel ban without consulting Members of Scottish Parliament first. Both Holyrood’s presiding officer and members of the Scottish Conservatives criticised Ms Sturgeon, reminding her that announcements should first be made in Parliament. Many have long accused Ms Sturgeon of operating a monopoly over Holyrood and Scotland.

Since 2015, her power in the country has been entrenched, as her Scottish National Party (SNP) has swept up majorities or near-majorities in most elections.

Her consistent support will likely work in her favour as her party moves to hold a second independence referendum, likely to take place after the coronavirus pandemic.

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While Prime Minister Boris Johnson has promised to maintain Scotland’s place in the UK, experts have previously argued that Westminster would be better off letting the country go.

Ahead of the first independence vote in 2014, Bryan Glass, a lecturer in modern British and British imperial history at Texas State University told England to “wise up” and stop holding on to Scotland.

Nicola Sturgeon: The Scottish First Minister's place in the UK was thrown into question

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Nicola Sturgeon: The Scottish First Minister’s place in the UK was thrown into question (Image: GETTY)

Douglas Ross: The Scottish Conservatives were furious with Sturgeon's travel ban

Douglas Ross: The Scottish Conservatives were furious with Sturgeon’s travel ban (Image: GETTY)

Writing in The Conversation, and later debating then-Education Secretary Michael Gove on the matter, Professor Glass set out myriad reasons why England should say “adieu”.

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Among several points, he drew attention to a political representation imbalance between Scotland and England.

He said: “Another contentious issue from an English point of view is the Barnett formula, which provides extra subsidies from the British Government to the people of Scotland for public services.

“If Scotland were to regain its independence after the referendum, this would free up additional taxpayer pounds to be invested elsewhere in what remained of the British state (albeit Scottish nationalists argue that Scotland is a net contributor to the UK once North Sea petroleum revenues are taken into account).

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Indyref2: Sturgeon and her SNP are working towards an Indyref2

Indyref2: Sturgeon and her SNP are working towards an Indyref2 (Image: GETTY)

“Then there’s the West Lothian question, which concerns the fact that MPs representing Scottish constituencies in the Westminster Parliament are allowed to vote on legislation that does not affect their electorates.

“This would immediately disappear with the establishment of an independent Scotland, which English people ought to see as a benefit.

“After all, why should the Scots have a say on issues like English education when English MPs have absolutely no control over the Scottish equivalent?”

The West Lothian question appeared to be solved in 2015 when David Cameron introduced English Votes for English Laws (Evel).

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Boris Johnson: The PM has repeatedly refused to entertain the idea of an Indyref2 (Image: GETTY)

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This saw legislation which only affects England requiring the support of a majority of MPs representing English constituencies.

Yet, in a bid to save the Union, Mr Gove last week announced his plans to back a major constitutional reform and scrap Evel.

The mechanism, which was suspended last year to simplify House of Commons proceedings during the pandemic, has long been criticised by the SNP.

Ms Sturgeon has repeatedly pointed out that any English-only laws do have an impact on Scotland because Holyrood’s funding via the Barnett formula is determined by spending south of the border.

Sturgeon profile: The First Minister took on the role following the failed independence vote in 2014

Sturgeon profile: The First Minister took on the role following the failed independence vote in 2014 (Image: Express Newspapers)

The legislation has also been opposed by the Scottish Tories since 2017, who have warned that it provides the SNP with “a stick to beat” the UK Government.

Should Mr Gove’s hopes of scrapping Evel and make Parliament work “for every part of the UK and every party in the UK” succeed, Prof Glass’ assertion that the West Lothian question proves the UK should let Scotland go will be thrust back onto the agenda.

He concluded: “A Britain with a Scottish population constantly angry or depressed or demanding further authority is not conducive to the remaining UK being a productive global power.

Michael Gove: The Tory politician is backing scrapping English Votes for English Laws

Michael Gove: The Tory politician is backing scrapping English Votes for English Laws (Image: GETTY)

“Internal conflicts at home undermine Britain’s power abroad as history has demonstrated time and time again.

“Numerous distractions for the English, and the rest of Britain, would be eliminated with a yes vote.”

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This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: UK Feed

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Sturgeon's place in UK rejected as England urged to sever ties with Scotland: 'No say!'
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