Independent Scotland Would Be 'New State'
The UK Government is stepping up its campaign against Scottish independence by questioning the legal status of a separate Scotland.
It insists that while the remainder of the UK would inherit more than 14,000 international treaties, an independent Scotland would not.
In what it calls an "unusual step", Whitehall has published its legal advice on the international law aspects of Scottish independence.
It claims that international precedent dictates that an independent Scotland would become a "new state" and what is left of the UK would be considered a "continuing state".
According to its legal opinion, only the remainder of the UK would automatically continue to exercise the same rights, obligations and powers under international law as the UK currently does, and would not have to renegotiate existing treaties or re-apply for membership of international organisations.
Currently, the UK is signed up to several thousand treaties and has membership of international organisations such as the United Nations, European Union, Nato, the International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organisation.
The UK Government's legal opinion was written by Professor Alan Boyle, of Edinburgh University, and Professor James Crawford, of Cambridge University.
Alistair Darling MP, the former chancellor and leader of the pro-Union 'Better Together' campaign, told Sky News: "This is a formidable legal opinion from two internationally respected lawyers. Their opinions have to be taken very seriously and they just can't just be dismissed by the nationalists.
"Again, it begs the question where is the advantage to Scotland of breaking its links with the rest of the UK, losing influence as well as all the other economic advantages that come from being together?
"It's high time the nationalists told us the basis of their increasingly discredited claims."
Scottish Secretary Michael Moore will launch what Downing Street describes as a series of 'Scotland Analysis Papers' in a speech in Edinburgh.
The event has drawn criticism from the SNP-controlled Scottish Government.
Scotland's Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told Sky News: "This is an act of breathtaking arrogance by this Tory-led UK Government, which completely shatters their claim that Scotland is an equal partner within the existing UK - it will only serve to boost support for an independent Scotland.
"The fact of the matter is that this is an opinion - no more, no less. Other constitutional and legal experts take a completely different view.
"For example, Professor David Scheffer, constitutional law expert and former US ambassador, said only recently that 'the break-up would be viewed as two successor states of equal legitimacy - not size, wealth or power, but legitimacy' ...this means a continuation for both states."
what do you think?
Scotland should sever all ties with London, so should England, successive governments have run the country in the best interests of London and devil take the rest of the country.
HS2 will benefit London.
Once again its about oil and gas. Be careful Scotland, you could end up being massacred for what is rightfully yours. Scotland leaving the UK is an utter disaster for England.
North Sea reserves are due to run out in 15 years!what will happen to Scotland after that?
if they are such a burden why dont you give them autonomy
Daniel talking first hand to people working on the oil fields there is plenty of oil for many years to come not just 15. Thats used to scare people into greener options.
You cannot stop Scotland gaining independence just because it upsets international treaties signed by the UK. If the argument is correct, presumably it means that Scotland will no longer be a member of the EU and will have to re-apply. Also, presumably, it will mena that the UKs contributions to the EU will decreased accordingly (if we are still in it). All of us Euro sceptics might have to move to Scotland if it gains independence.
Phil, going by recent events,the EU budget with one less member will reduce,but UK contributions will go up,is that not how it works under Cameron.
If the Scots want to remain a member of all these things then why leave the UK in the first place. It will be like going into a pub and having to pay for your own drinks for once.