Home U.K. Ian Blackford's humiliation as SNP's independence plan torn apart: 'Answer the question!'

Ian Blackford’s humiliation as SNP’s independence plan torn apart: ‘Answer the question!’

The SNP – led by Nicola Sturgeon – want to take Scotland out of the UK and back into the EU after four years of opposing Brexit. While most in Scotland voted Remain in the EU in 2016, the SNP ‘s plans have come under scrutiny for their economic viability. But another issue with Scottish independence was raised by Conservative Bernard Jenkin when he clashed with Ian Blackford on BBC Politics Live. Mr Blackford had maintained that the SNP would not agree to any Brexit withdrawal proposal put forward by Boris Johnson as his arrangements would not take a no deal scenario off the table.

But Mr Jenkin asked the SNP’s leader in Westminster whether that train of thought would also apply to Scottish independence.

He said: “Can we take it then that if ever Scotland voted to leave the United Kingdom, the SNP would never agree to leave the United Kingdom until the British Government had chosen to give Scotland a deal?

“So without a deal, Scotland would remain in the United Kingdom indefinitely. Is that right?”

Mr Blackford ignored the question, causing the Brexiteer to add: “It’s the same, isn’t it? If you left the United Kingdom – answer the question.”

The SNP figure branded Mr Jenkin’s claims “frankly ridiculous”.

He added: “You’re being obtuse.

“We have a White Paper, we have a plan, we are prepared to go into negotiations when it happens. And, of course, we’ll be staying in the European Union.

“You are being ridiculous because what you’re talking about is the single market and the customs union, and the UK doesn’t have a direct counterpart to that. So let’s be realistic.”

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Ian Blackford news: Jenkin challenged Blackford on independence (Image: BBC)

Ian Blackford news: Jenkin asked whether Scotland would leave the UK with no deal (Image: BBC)

The SNP MP also urged opposition parties to come together to bring the Government down with a vote of no confidence to “move to a quick election”.

The economics of Scottish independence has also come under the microscope in recent years.

The publication of government finances in August 2019 showed that as Europe’s newest independent state, Scotland would have a larger budget deficit than any other EU nation.

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Many argued at the time that these numbers proved Scotland relies on income from England to fund its public services.

READ MORE: SNP outrage: How Tories hit out at Ian Blackford’s ‘dark money’

SNP news: Blackford said Jenkin’s claims were ‘frankly ridiculous’ (Image: BBC)

While Bloomberg’s report highlighted that the reality of this statement is “a little more subtle”, there is another challenge posed for an independent Scotland.

Scotland, unlike most countries in Europe, would be missing a large, productive city like Paris, London or Copenhagen.

These cities subsidise less productive rural regions. Scotland’s population of 5.4 million is less than two thirds of London’s.

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As Bloomberg highlighted, Scotland’s capital – Edinburgh – has a high output per resident, but it is also smaller than other capital cities across Europe.

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SNP news: Blackford is the party’s leader in Westminster (Image: BBC)

Nicola Sturgeon news: Sturgeon wants to take Scotland out of the UK and into the EU (Image: getty)

According to Tom Forth, co-founder of The Data City, this poses a major challenge for Scotland.

He said: “This poses a challenge for the SNP.

“For as long as the city is a net recipient of public money rather than a net contributor to the Treasury, the fiscal case for Scottish independence will be hard to make.”

In February, the economic argument for independence suffered another blow, as Scottish economic output fell by three percent, reducing the overall value of the economy by £5billion.

The accounts also showed that the Scottish economic deficit of £12.6billion had risen to 7.2 percent of GDP, when it was previously seven percent.

This downward revision moves Scotland further away from the EU’s requirement that to join the bloc, a state’s deficit must be no more than three percent.

However, Scotland would likely be able to negotiate an arrangement with Brussels to reduce its deficit while starting the joining process.

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