Belfast Telegraph

No euro for Scotland now or in the foreseeable future, Nicola Sturgeon says

Nicola Sturgeon has said the SNP has no policy to take an independent Scotland into the euro "now or at any time in the foreseeable future".

The Scottish First Minister said another independence referendum "is definitely on the table" if Scotland votes to remain in the UK but the rest of the UK votes to leave.

SNP home affairs spokeswoman Joanna Cherry MP was asked if Scotland would join the euro during a BBC Reporting Scotland debate on Monday night.

Ms Cherry said: "We would need to look at the economic conditions at the time. We probably wouldn't want to be tied to the pound if it nosedives after a Brexit."

Scottish Vote Leave has said the euro is "a basket case currency" which has been bad for the European economy.

Ms Sturgeon was asked about Ms Cherry's comments and urged to reveal what currency the SNP would seek to use if Scotland votes for independence in the event of a Brexit during an EU referendum campaign event in Edinburgh on Tuesday.

She said: "We will have that discussion if that's the situation that we are in next week."

She added: "What (Ms Cherry) said was that if the pound was to fall after a Brexit, it might not be as attractive a currency as it might be right now. That is a statement of fact.

"It is not the SNP's policy to seek entry to the euro now or at any time in the foreseeable future.

"But these are decisions and discussions that, yes, we will have if we are in the scenario of a Brexit.

"But I hope we are not in that scenario because I hope people across the UK vote strongly to stay in."

Former SNP leader Alex Salmond, who took Scotland to the brink of independence as first minister in 2014, said in March the SNP must develop a currency argument "which can withstand any position adopted by your opponents" so it does not find itself "gazumped".

On June 10, Ms Sturgeon said her own preference would be to retain the pound, insisting "the pound is Scotland's currency as much as it is England's currency".

The SNP manifesto outlined plans for a new independence drive in the summer and set out its belief Holyrood should have the right to hold another referendum if there is a new groundswell of support, or if there is a "material change" in circumstances "such as Scotland being taken out of the EU against our will".

Speaking in Edinburgh, Ms Sturgeon said "the position that we set out in our manifesto just last month is the position that would prevail" in the event of an unwanted Brexit.

"If Scotland faces being taken out of the EU against our will - that is predicated, of course, on Scotland voting to Remain and the UK voting to Leave - then the option of a second referendum is one that the Scottish Parliament should have the right to consider," she said.

"In other words, that option is definitely on the table as one of the ways in which we may have to protect our interests and protect our relationship with Europe."

Scottish Vote Leave director Tom Harris said: "The euro was always a bad idea, not just for the UK but for Europe. It's resulted in record unemployment in the eurozone and sluggish growth.

"It is a basket-case currency and it is creating a basket-case economy."