MEPs have come together to call for a 'no' vote in the Scottish referendum. Paul Brannen MEP and David Martin MEP were part of a delegation to Scotland this week talking to voters about why they should vote no in the referendum. They will warn that the creation of a border could lead to a 4% slump in trade, hitting both Scotland and the North East hard. They will make the case that independence actually risks Scotland's place in the world by leaving the United Kingdom, but also the European Union.
Paul is an Member of the European Parliament for the North East of England and David is a Labour MEP for Scotland, They travelled to Scotland from Brussels at the end of the Parliamentary session this week. Polls last weekend show that the vote is close and that people are still making up their minds. It is a truly historic vote and one which will have major impacts for Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom.
There is also a risk to the North East, with academics suggesting that the imposition of a border could lead to a slump of 4% in trade, hitting both Scotland and the region. This would hit the North East economy at a time when it is only just starting to recover and would set the region back.
Paul said "I am extremely worried about the loss of the progressive Scottish voice from British politics and society but for me the referendum is also personal my mother was born near Kirkcudbright and I will be wearing my family tartan on my trip to Scotland, albeit as a tie rather than a kilt. People in the North East, and across the rest of the UK have family and personal ties to Scotland and it would be a great shame to see a border starting to divide us. The 'no' campaign has used the term better together but from my point of view as a Member of the European Parliament it means so much more. It's not just about the UK but about the EU too, and an independent Scotland could put that at risk."
Jude Kirton-Darling, Paul's fellow North East Labour MEP added, "It is currently unclear whether Scotland would be able to retain membership of the European Union, rather it will probably have to re-apply a process that could take 5 years, putting at risk the benefits that member states enjoy."
David Martin, Labour MEP for Scotland added: "the challenges we face and the drive we have to build a fairer society are shared by progressives on both side of the border. We want to protect and invest in our public services, raise the minimum wage and create quality jobs across Europe and we achieve more together than we do working apart."