Confronting former SNP finance spokesperson and chair of the Scottish Growth Commission Andrew Wilson for the Spectator TV, the BBC veteran dismantled Nicola Sturgeon’s ambition to join the EU whilst still using the British Sterling and having a central bank independent from the eurozone. Mr Neil blasted: “Hold on! Are you saying that you could join the EU with Sterling?
“What possible evidence do you have for that?
“You’re using the currency of a country that isn’t even in the EU, the EU has its own currency but you don’t want to use that.
“You would not have an independent central bank as defined by the EU and what it demands.
“You wouldn’t even have an independent monetary policy.
“You wouldn’t set your own interest rates.
“It’s inconceivable that you would join with Sterling!”
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The Scottish politician said: “I don’t think any of those things are inconceivable in terms of membership, we would have our own central bank, it would be independent, but it wouldn’t be setting interest rates or ordering the exchange rate.”
But Andrew Neil promptly hit back: “It wouldn’t have the power to print money and it wouldn’t be a lender of last resort because you’re not printing money.
“And all of these are conditions for joining the EU, not just the eurozone.
“They’re conditions for being in the EU!”
It comes as on Thursday, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was forced to write an open letter setting out that everyone who wishes to stay should complete a Settlement Scheme application by June 30.
EU citizens who live in Scotland were urged to apply to a scheme so they can remain in the country.
The Scottish Government believes such citizens should not need to apply to protect their rights, however the UK Government has made it a requirement.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “My message to everyone from the EU who lives and works here remains this – Scotland is your home, you are our family, and we’d be privileged if you would stay here with us.
“We are drawing close to the end of the Brexit transition period, and the end of a year in which we have together faced the unprecedented challenge of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“In these times of uncertainty and disruption, I would like to once again reassure EU citizens that Scotland values you for the contribution you make to our society, our culture and our economy.
“While I don’t agree that you should have to go through an application process to secure rights that you should automatically have, I do want to ensure that you are able to stay in Scotland.
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“Many EU citizens have already applied for the Settlement Scheme – but many more do still need to apply.
“My message is a simple one. Please apply. Scotland is a better place because you are living here.”
The open letter and video mark International Migrants Day on Friday.
It has been translated into Italian, Lithuanian, French, Polish, Romanian, Spanish and German and is being made available to public and third sector stakeholders.