Alex Neil, one of the Scottish National Party’s most prominent figures, shocked some colleagues when he revealed recently that he voted for Brexit in the EU referendum last June. The Airdrie & Shotts MSP visited Newsnet Radio studios to explain the thinking behind vote, and what he thinks the Scottish Government should be doing as it tackles the implications of the UK opting to leave the European Union.
The veteran MSP, who served as a Minister in the 2007 and 2011 administrations, says that other SNP figures took a similar position on Europe.
He told interviewer Maurice Smith why he backed Brexit, and sets out his case for an SNP independence campaign within the terms of a UK that has left the EU. He believes the very fact of Brexit demands that even with independence, Scotland would have to seek an alternative relationship with the EU.
His position challenges the assumptions behind First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s position that Scotland should remain somehow within the European single market, on the basis that the country voted 68-38 per cent in support of Remain, while the UK as a whole voted 52-48 per cent to leave.
The former SNP minister believes Scotland should be demanding that all powers to be returned from Brussels to London must be devolved to Holyrood in every area that relates to Scotland: a significant shift of emphasis from the Scottish Government’s current position.
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