|Date: 17/05/2012 Time: 12:48:00 PM
Scottish independence could see the UK kicked out
of the European Union and forced to surrender its 3 billion pounds annual
rebate if it wanted to rejoin, a senior constitutional lawyer has told MPs.
Patrick Layden, a former Scottish executive legal expert, warned that other
EU countries could exploit separation to argue that the United Kingdom has
ceased to exist as a member state, the Daily Telegraph newspaper quoted him as
Ministers in Edinburgh and London would then both have to reapply for
membership, but he said they could be stripped of "ridiculous" privileges that
governments on the continent resent.
He highlighted in this respect the 3.3 billion pounds annual rebate,
negotiated by Margaret Thatcher, and the UK's opt-out from the Schengen
Agreement allowing free travel across 25 EU states.
Joining the European free travel area would mean removing border controls
at airports, ports, and the Eurotunnel, making illegal immigration harder to
Layden told the House of Commons Scottish Affairs committee's inquiry into
Scottish separation this is not a certainty, but the final decision would rest
with other EU countries.
This intervention is significant, as for decades, he has advised ministers
in London and Edinburgh on European and constitutional affairs and only left
the Scottish executive last June, the Telegraph noted.
Alex Salmond, the Scottish First Minister, has insisted that a separate
Scotland would automatically retain EU membership along with all the UK's
However, a series of legal experts have warned that Scotland would have to
reapply and would have to negotiate its own opt-outs from Schengen and the