The Courier & Advertiser (Perth and Perthshire Edition)

MEP: Yes vote means leaving EU

- By Andy Philip

VOTING FOR Scottish independen­ce is also a vote to leave the European Union, according to a Liberal Democrat MEP.

George Lyon made the claim in the closing speech at the Scottish Lib Dem conference in Aberdeen.

He rejected the Scottish Government position that membership can be sewn up in the 18 months between a Yes vote and formal independen­ce from the UK.

Mr Lyon, campaignin­g for Lib Dem votes in the European election this May, said: “The question at these European elections is not simply in or out of the EU.

“The Scottish referendum means that the question Scots have to confront is do we want to be in Britain or out of Europe?”

He told party activists the shortest time a new country has taken to become a full EU member since 1995 was eight years.

He argued Scotland would be forced out of the EU and have to reapply for membership.

The SNP says Scotland, being part of the EU already, would be able to renegotiat­e from within the UK.

Questions remain about what terms Scotland would have to accept, with some suggesting the country would have to agree to adopt the euro or join the Schengen freetravel area.

The SNP argues voting to stay in the UK means Scotland could be forced out of the EU if a future British government goes ahead with a proposed in/out referendum on Europe.

A spokesman for First Minister Alex Salmond said: “The only threat to Scotland’s continued EU membership comes from Westminste­r’s proposed in-out referendum and the Tory-led Government which George Lyon supports. “A Yes vote in September will guarantee Scotland’s future in Europe and ensure we have a voice and seat at the top table for the f irst time ever. “Scotland is already part of the EU, so as an independen­t country will not be an accession state, and we will negotiate the specif ic terms of our continued membership from within.”

A Ye s Scotland spokesman said: “Scotland has been a member of the European Union for more than 40 years and our continued membership is in the best interest of all member states.

“The No campaign’s continued scare tactic flies in the face of expert analysis.”

 ?? Picture: Allan Milligan. ?? George Lyon at the Scottish Lib Dem conference.
Picture: Allan Milligan. George Lyon at the Scottish Lib Dem conference.

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