What next for devolution?

Posted in Devolution

Immediately following the result of the EU referendum, there were calls from the Scottish National Party for another referendum on Scottish independence as, notwithstanding the overall vote to leave the European Union, 62 per cent of voters in Scotland voted to remain.

Similarly, almost 56 per cent of voters in Northern Ireland voted to remain in the EU. Sinn Fein questioned the mandate of the UK government to represent the people of Northern Ireland. The party had previously called for a referendum on Northern Ireland’s future in the event of a leave vote and repeated such calls following the result. More generally, businesses will need to consider the question of potential changes to existing border arrangements between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

It remains to be seen how the above issues will develop. In particular, it is unclear whether Scotland could become an independent country and remain a member of the EU, or whether it would have to establish independence and then apply for EU membership. Insofar as Scotland is required to apply for membership (as the Commission have previously indicated), it is likely that Scotland would be required to accept the euro and the Schengen Agreement, necessitating a hard border between England and Scotland.

For further information, please see the devolution question.

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