UK islands could be about to defect to Norway after upcoming bombshell vote

A group of UK islands could become a territory of Norway under dramatic new proposals.

Orkney, off the northeast coast of Scotland, has a population of less than 23,000 people spread across its 20 inhabited islands and makes up one of the country's 32 council areas.

But next week a motion will go before the council, exploring "alternative forms of governance" including changing the archipelago's status within the UK or becoming a self-governing territory of the Scandinavian nation.

READ MORE: Elon Musk explains bizarre Twitter view cap rule as he tells users to 'go outside'

"We are looking for the very best position for future generations and our place in the world," council leader James Stockan told BBC Radio Scotland.

"The council will decide whether it supports this motion and from there we will take our time, because we don't want to do this emotionally."

Stockan said Orkney doesn't get fair funding under its current relationship with the UK, adding the nearby archipelagos of Shetland and the Western Isles received more funding per head to keep the same services running.

The councilman also said that while an in-depth examination of Orkney's finances had never been carried out, the islands had contributed more than they received back through north sea oil and that new ventures into renewable energy would contribute to the islands' economy.

  • 'Our new build estate is falling apart and there's nothing we can do about it'

Orkney's hopes for the future aren't just pinned on Norway, either – the motion also wants to see councillors consider following the example set by the British Crown Dependencies Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man.

Stockan also urged the council to consider whether Orkney could secure another "Nordic connection" with the likes of Denmark or Iceland.

Orkney was previously held under Norwegian and Danish control, but became part of Scotland in 1472 as part of the wedding dowry of Margaret of Denmark, the future wife of King James III of Scotland.

"We were part of the Norse kingdom for much longer than we were part of the United Kingdom," Stockan continued, adding that the islands share a "deep cultural relationship" with Scandinavia.

In 2017, Orkney Islands Council voted on whether the islands should have greater autonomy and determined while Orcadians should have a "stronger voice", they weren't in favour of breaking away from the union altogether.

When asked about the proposal, the UK government said it had pledged £50million to level up the economies of Scotland's Islands, such as Orkney.

"We will always be stronger together as one United Kingdom, and we have no plans to change the devolution settlement," a spokesperson said.

Meanwhile the Scottish government said Orkney Islands Council would receive £89.7million to fund services in 2023-2024, with a spokesperson saying the devolved parliament was "committed to supporting island communities".

Orkney Islands Council will discuss the motion on Tuesday (July 4).

For the latest breaking news and stories from across the globe from the Daily Star, sign up for our newsletter by clicking here.

Source: Read Full Article