Good luck with that, Ms Sturgeon! An independent Scotland would still be outside the EU, and would have to apply to become a member before receiving any of the benefits.
The Scottish National party is seeking assurances from EU member states that an independent Scotland could remain in the single market after Brexit – and senior SNP figures now believe a second referendum on independence could be held by autumn 2018, before the UK leaves the union.
The Scottish government believes the guarantee about the single market would ensure greater support for independence in a second referendum and are working to persuade member states to let them be treated as a continuing member of the EU.
Senior SNP figures believe the Brexit secretary, David Davis, will end up demanding a “hard Brexit” that will mean the UK will not remain part of the single market, and will implement some form of green card system to restrict EU citizens entering Britain.
The threat of losing single market membership would be enough of a “material change” to allow the SNP, led by Nicola Sturgeon, to call for a second independence referendum, the senior figures believe. She described a second referendum as “highly likely” on the morning after the Brexit vote.
If Westminster opted for a hard Brexit it would also be easier for Scottish politicians to persuade business of the virtues of Scotland remaining inside the EU.They are confident a second referendum would be backed by Holyrood, and then Theresa May would have no option but to grant the demand. Alex Salmond, the former Scottish first minister, is pushing for a referendum in 2018.
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