Moore credibility gap on EU
Michael Moore has absolutely no credibility on the issue of Scotland’s EU membership, the SNP has said, with the real threat coming from his own Coalition.
The Scotland Secretary used his address the Scottish Lib Dem Conference today in Dunfermline to make spurious claims that an independent Scotland’s EU membership would be in doubt – less than 24 hours after a succession of Coalition politicians lined up to demand Britain’s complete withdrawal from Europe.
In a debate that threatened to reopen the arguments that ripped the Tories apart in the 1990s, Tory MP Douglas Carswell yesterday likened Britain’s membership of the EU to being “shackled to a corpse” as he attempted to secure support to repeal the European Communities Act (1972).
A year ago, 81 Conservative MPs defied their Party whip to vote in favour of holding a referendum on withdrawal.
SNP MSP Christina McKelvie said that if Michael Moore was defending Scotland’s interests then he should demand that the speculation on EU withdrawal should cease immediately.
Commenting, Ms McKelvie – Convener of the Scottish Parliament’s European and External Relations Committee – said:
"For Michael Moore to stand up and claim that Scotland’s EU membership would be jeopardised by independence – when he is tied in coalition with the Tories whose MPs and members are queuing up to demand the UK's complete withdrawal from the EU – is patently absurd.
"Michael Moore and the Lib Dems have no more credibility on Scotland in Europe than they do on tuition fees - which is to say none whatsoever.
“While the Scottish Government – just like the people of Scotland – are committed to having a strong Scottish voice in Europe, the ripple of discontent amongst Tory MPs is rapidly becoming a torrent of anti-EU sentiment.
“If Mr Moore is serious about securing Scotland’s membership in the EU, he should be demanding that his Prime Minister get a grip and end the Little Englander movement on the Tory backbenches.
“The fact is, there is no provision for the EU to expel its citizens, and the people of Scotland have been EU citizens since the Maastricht Treaty in 1992.
“It was Lord MacKenzie-Stuart himself – the only Scots judge to sit on the European Court of Justice – who said that an independent Scotland would be in exactly the same position as the rest of the UK.
“The fact that Mr Moore’s Tory coalition partners are so hell-bent on ripping the UK out of Europe makes the case for Scottish independence even stronger.”
Lord Mackenzie-Stuart - a Judge on the European Court of Justice between 1973 and 1988, and President from 1984-88 (SoS, 8/3/92) said: “Independence would leave Scotland and something called 'the rest' in the same legal boat. If Scotland had to reapply, so would the rest. I am puzzled at the suggestion that there would be a difference in the status of Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom in terms of Community law if the Act of Union was dissolved”