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20 May, 2016 14:12

Leave the EU? Then Scotland will leave Britain! Salmond sends Brexit warning

Leave the EU? Then Scotland will leave Britain! Salmond sends Brexit warning

If Britain votes to leave the European Union on June 23 it could trigger another Scottish independence referendum within two years, Scottish nationalist MP Alex Salmond says.

Former First Minister Salmond, who is against Brexit, led the Scottish National Party (SNP) before resigning in September 2014 when his independence cause was defeated.

Salmond says the EU referendum “will be a damn close-run thing,” according to AFP.

He says the approach of Prime Minister David Cameron has been to make a “negative” and “scaremongering” case for remaining in the EU.

The problem with that case is essentially it’s a lie. Yes, of course, leaving the EU will cause economic difficulty, trouble, tribulations, but it’s not a disaster. And it doesn’t signal the end of international trade,” Salmond says.

“The right campaign in order to engender the enthusiasm of Europe is to say: this is what we think Europe should be doing. This is the Europe we can build, the Europe we can seek.”

Salmond says if the majority of Scottish voters opt to stay in the EU but voters from England, Wales and Northern Ireland tip the scale towards leave, that would create a mandate for a new Scottish independence referendum.

Scotland will not be pulled out of Europe against its will, he says.

“I think if that circumstance came about there will be an ‘out’ referendum, it will occur within the two years period.

“If you say to Scotland: ‘Look, we can be independent, and within this European firmament or we can drift off into the North Atlantic with a Tory government,’ I think they’ll choose independence,” he says.

Salmond says he is not optimistic about Cameron’s future prospects.

“I think if he will be out on his ear, regardless of the result of the referendum,” Salmond says.

“If there’s an ‘in’ vote, I think he’s finished as well. And the reason for that is ... he said he’s not going to contest the next election. So what’s the point in staying on?”

The Tory split on the Brexit issue has been damaging to the party, Salmond says.

“There will be a huge amount of resentment that has been built up about the nature of the campaign, about the people who were bullied and blackmailed and threatened.”