EU: ‘No way Spain could veto Scotland rejoining’ says expert
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Nicola Sturgeon wants to hold a second Scottish independence referendum in the hope that it can rejoin the European Union after Brexit. But senior Cabinet minister Michael Gove has said he “can’t see” Boris Johnson granting a new referendum on Scottish independence before the next general election. The Director of the Robert Schuman Centre, Brigid Laffan, has since noted that Scotland meets the right criteria to get back into the EU.
Speaking to Euronews, Ms Laffan said: “They meet the criteria, they are pro-European and I think they would join with relative ease.”
She added: “I don’t think the Spanish government would object because the only way Scotland really enters the EU is as an independent state.
“It’s not like Catalonia which Madrid is determined will not be independent.
“I think there is no way that Spain could legitimately veto Scottish membership of the EU.”
It comes as Ms Sturgeon said the “sneering, arrogant condescension” of Mr Gove in comments about another referendum are strengthening support for Scottish independence.
The UK Cabinet Office minister has said he “can’t see” Boris Johnson agreeing to another vote before the next general election, adding it is “reckless” to discuss the issue while the country is still recovering from the coronavirus pandemic.
But Scotland’s First Minister said the argument that the nations of the United Kingdom are equals “completely disintegrates” if the UK Government refuses to allow another vote on independence.
Speaking to the PA news agency, Ms Sturgeon said: “Every time we hear that kind of sneering, arrogant condescension from Michael Gove – or whatever UK Government minister it may be – completely refusing to accept Scottish democracy actually the more they just build support for independence.
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“If we can’t even have a UK Government that respects the choices we make democratically, which – in an election just a matter of weeks ago – was an overwhelming victory for the SNP on the manifesto commitment to have the choice of independence, not to force independence on people but to give people the choice at the right moment after we’re out of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“If that can’t even be respected, then the idea that the UK is a partnership of equals just completely disintegrates.”
Mr Gove – who is responsible for countering the push for independence – said the Prime Minister will be completely focused on recovery from the pandemic “for the lifetime of this Parliament”.
Under the Fixed Term Parliaments Act, the next general election is not due until May 2024 – although Mr Johnson is committed to repealing the Act which could allow him to go to the country before then.
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In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Mr Gove was challenged on whether there is “any circumstance” in which Mr Johnson would approve a referendum before a May 2024 election.
Mr Gove responded: “I don’t think so.”
Asked whether his position is that “there will be no referendum before the 2024 election”, he replied: “I can’t see it.”
After pro-independence parties won a majority in the Scottish Parliament in May, Ms Sturgeon said it is “a matter of when, not if” there will be a second referendum.
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