An independent Scotland that is part of the European Union will need to build a “great wall of Gretna” at the English border.
UK immigration minister Kevin Foster has warned a separate Scotland that was part of the Schengen scheme, which permits free travel without passport checks between European nations, would require the construction of a hard border with England.
During a press briefing Ms Sturgeon floundered when pressed why a separate Scotland would be the only part of the EU not to have a hard border with a neighbouring country that was not part of the bloc.
On a visit to Scotland, the Home Office minister challenged Nicola Sturgeon’s party to “start being upfront about the impact of some of their policies”. Speaking in West Lothian, Mr Foster said:
“If they wanted Scotland to join Schengen, that does mean a hard border, it means building a great wall of Gretna.”
He suggested the SNP should be “getting on with the day job” of dealing with increasing Covid numbers and the recovery from the pandemic “rather than debating the philosophical future of the country” with another independence referendum.
Mr Foster also dismissed the Scottish government’s calls for more powers over immigration to be devolved to Holyrood. He said:
“We’re very clear that we need to have a migration system that works for the whole of the United Kingdom. What I am not interested in doing is creating passport control at Berwick. The UK operates as a single market despite the SNP’s thoughts on this.”
Around 60% of Scottish exports go to the other three nations of UK, more than three times the value of those that go to the continent.