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Scotland in the UK

Volume 558: debated on Monday 11 February 2013

The Government have published the first paper in the Scotland analysis programme series to inform the debate on Scotland’s future within the United Kingdom.

“Devolution and the Implications of Scottish Independence” covers the benefits of devolution and the legal consequences of establishing an independent Scottish state.

Alongside this paper the Government have published an independent expert legal opinion from leading experts on international law. The opinion concludes that, in the event of a vote for independence, Scotland would become a “successor state”. It would therefore be required to create a new set of domestic and international arrangements. The remainder of the United Kingdom would be the “continuator state” and would not have to negotiate new treaties or memberships of international organisations because, as the continuing state, the remainder of the UK would be largely unaffected under international law.

Negotiations would need to take place with the UK Government on any requests to retain UK-wide arrangements on matters such as a currency union, financial regulation and national security. An independent Scottish state would also need to negotiate with the European Union and other international organisations to agree new terms and conditions of membership.

Future papers from the Scotland analysis programme will be published over the course of 2013 and 2014 to ensure that people in Scotland have access to the facts that will help inform them ahead of the referendum.