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Sturgeon: EU would welcome independent Scotland with open arms

The First Minister said that it is ‘perfectly normal’ to be a small, independent country in the EU.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the EU would welcome Scotland with open arms (Jane Barlow/PA)
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the EU would welcome Scotland with open arms (Jane Barlow/PA)

An independent Scotland would be welcomed with “open arms” by the EU, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

Speaking on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, the First Minister said that Scotland would not be dissimilar to other, smaller countries currently in the EU if it was to gain membership as an independent nation.

Last week, Ms Sturgeon suggested that there is a “real chance” for the country to stay within the EU.

“While I don’t expect the European Union ever to interfere in the decision about independence, I am more confident than I’ve ever been – and I was pretty confident back in 2014 – that Scotland would be welcomed with open arms by the EU,” said the First Minister.

“If you look at the 27 member states of the EU, about a dozen of them are countries similar in size to or smaller than Scotland, so it’s perfectly normal to be a small, independent country in the EU.”

At the SNP’s manifesto launch in Glasgow last week, Ms Sturgeon also warned that the prospect of a Boris Johnson premiership, supported by Nigel Farage, would be a “nightmare” for Scotland.

On a visit to Edinburgh last week however, Mr Farage indicated that he could not support Mr Johnson as he is unsure about his stance over Brexit.

In Newcastle city centre on Monday, a man, who was later charged by police, threw a milkshake over the Brexit Party leader.

Mr Farage told a rally in Bolton on Monday evening: “I won’t even acknowledge the low-grade behaviour that I was subjected to this morning, I won’t dignify it, I will ignore it. Perhaps keep buying new clothes and carry on.

“For a civilised democratic nation to function in democracy, the loser has to give their consent. The loser has to accept they’ve lost the election and do their best to win the next election. That is how our system works.”

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Nigel Farage after he was doused in milkshake during a campaign walkabout in Newcastle (Tom Wilkinson/PA)

Asked about the treatment received by Mr Farage, Nicola Sturgeon said that politicians of all parties should be able to campaign and debate, regardless of whether you agree with them or not.

Ms Sturgeon said: “Whatever you think of Nigel Farage and I’m, as you’ve probably gathered, not a great fan of Nigel Farage, I don’t think we should be condoning or encouraging people to behave in that way.

“Not least because it took the attention away from a big story yesterday about where the Brexit party gets its money from.

“I think the better treatment for people who oppose Nigel Farage is to ignore him, he hates being ignored, and then go out on Thursday and vote against him.

“But all politicians, of whatever party, should be able to campaign amongst the public and have vigorous and robust debate, but not have to worry about things like that happening.”

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