SNP MP: Party Would ‘Totally’ Accept Euro and Hard Border with England as Price of Rejoining EU

LESLEY MARTIN/AFP via Getty Images
LESLEY MARTIN/AFP via Getty Images

A Member of Parliament for the left-separatist Scottish National Party (SNP) stoked controversy by saying it would “totally” accept dropping the pound for the euro and policing a hard border with England as the price of rejoining the European Union.

While notionally committed to leaving the United Kingdom in order to establish sovereign statehood for Scotland, few British political parties are more committed to reversing Brexit than the SNP, at least in their corner of Britain — even though this would entail giving up independence with respect to national fishing waters, agricultural policy, international trade deals, and a swathe of other policy areas which the European Union controls on behalf of its member-states.

One of the knottier issues for the party has been the fact that in seeking to rejoin the EU, a separate Scotland would not benefit from any of the opt-outs from the process of European integration which the United Kingdom had prior to Brexit, and would have to commit to joining the euro currency and enforcing a customs and regulatory border against England — by far Scotland’s trading partner, and crossed by thousands of Scots and Englishmen who live and work on either side of the frontier every day.

Previously, the SNP has sought to obscure these issues, suggesting Scotland would be able to keep the pound and even continue to have a say in monetary policy for the British currency — but Alyn Smith MP, the SNP spokesman on foreign affairs, has now told La Repubblica that the party is happy to be a “fully normal” member of the EU, enforcing all the rules required of it against England, Wales, and Northern Ireland and adopting the euro subject to yet another referendum.

“We want to be a fully normal member of the EU budget. We don’t want special deals. We want a normal status,” the Stirling MP told the European paper.

“On the point about the border, yes, we’ve said this. We’ve admitted this. The border of Carlisle [in England] will be an external border of the European Union, Customs Union, and Single Market. We’ve got obligations of policing that, of course,” he said.

Asked if an SNP-led separate Scotland would submit to a request from Brussels “to adopt the euro currency as a condition” of EU membership, Smith was unequivocal: “Yeah, totally.”

“The commitment is to participate in the economic and monetary union. The euro is only part of that. We would want to participate in economic and monetary union for macroeconomic stability,” he said, sidestepping the massive issues which this would create for trade and travel within Great Britain, most of which would still be using the pound, along with Northern Ireland.

Incredibly, the separatist MP went on to touch on one of the issues with Scotland dropping the pound for the euro often raised by critics: namely that under the SNP-led minority government in Scotland, levels of public debt are so high that Scotland does not even meet the criteria for Eurozone membership.

“The irony, of course, right now is that our public debt levels would be far too high to join the euro so we wouldn’t be eligible… we’re in strange territory,” Smith confessed.

Smith’s revealing statements come as Nicola Sturgeon, SNP leader and First Minister of Scotland’s devolved government — roughly equivalent to a state government in the U.S. — may be backing away from her demands for yet another referendum on Scotland leaving the United Kingdom, not even ten years after the previous “once in a lifetime”  vote in 2014.

Polls show support for ending the British Union in Scotland has fallen to just 42 per cent, with support for the Union up to 49 per cent.

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