Brexiteer Daniel Hannan said negotiations with the EU “should have made a great show of taking eurosceptic concerns on board” as he argued the same approach should be adopted by the Prime Minister to thwart Nicola Sturgeon’s push for Scottish independence. Despite Mr Johnson rejecting a second vote on the matter Ms Sturgeon still plans to push ahead with an IndyRef2.
But former Tory MEP Mr Hannan claimed Westminster can demonstrate it wants to “address nationalist grievances by offering a “new and more decentralised” power settlement.
He argued the UK “must be a willing partnership” and stressed the move to establish the Scottish Parliament in 1999 failed to “kill nationalism stone dead”.
Mr Hannan said: “It ended up creating a mechanism for permanent grievance-mongering and confrontation.”
Turning to the 2016 Brexit referendum, Daniel Hannan said the UK “benefited immensely from Brussels’s intransigence.”
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He continued: “Had David Cameron come back from the renegotiation with any extra powers, he would surely have won.
“But the EU refused to budge, and so convinced swing voters in Britain that it would never listen.”
Because of this, Mr Hannan said Unionists including the Conservatives should “avoid that error”.
He made clear in a Telegraph column: “What they might think of as concentrating on more pressing issues could easily come across as condescension.
“Brussels, in retrospect, should have made a great show of taking eurosceptic concerns on board.”
James Mitchell, a professor at the University of Edinburgh’s School of Social and Political Science echoed Mr Hannan and said the Brexit deal struggled to be sold to the SNP in Scotland.
He said: “I can’t see how the Conservatives can hope to sell Brexit to people in Scotland and, indeed, [they] are struggling to sell it across the UK.
Prof Mitchell added: “The longer [they] are in office in London … support for independence is likely to harden.”
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Mr Hannan’s remarks comes as the SNP, which runs the devolved Scottish Government, raised significant concerns Scotland was being taken out of the EU against its will after 62 percent of Scots voted to remain in the 2016 referendum.
First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon and SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford said Europe should “leave a light on for Scotland” as the Brexit transition period came to an end.
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