• Text size      
  • Send this article to a friend
  • Print this article

English would demand own poll on currency union if iScotland seeks it, say Tory MPs

THE English would demand and deserve their own referendum over a formal proposal to create a currency union between an ­independent Scotland and the remaining United Kingdom, say Tory MPs.

They also suggest the Barnett Formula, "preferential" to Scotland, should be revised or scrapped for the 18-month period between any Yes vote on September 18 and the consequent Independence Day in March 2016.

The calls for a poll for the English, Welsh and Northern Irish has come in the wake of last week's intervention by Mark Carney, the Governor of the Bank of England, on a currency union.

First Minister Alex Salmond believes a sterling zone would benefit Scotland and the remaining UK but Prime Minister David Cameron disagrees, saying it is "highly unlikely" to happen.

Mark Field, the Conservative MP for the City of London, said: "If Scotland voted for independence there would be a demand for a referendum among English voters to determine whether or not we would be ­willing for Scotland to be part of a currency union with us."

The Tory backbencher also said there would also be calls to review the Barnett Formula, which helps determine spending in Scotland, and which some critics insist unfairly ­benefits the Scots.

He said: "There would be ­irresistible political pressure in the period between the referendum and fully fledged independence in 2016 for an immediate reassessment of the Formula, which is a preferential public spending formula for Scotland. English taxpayers would be reluctant to continue those arrangements for the interim period."

His colleague Peter Bone, the Northamptonshire Tory MP, also insisted there should be a referendum.

He said: "You can't have a currency union without the approval of the rest of the UK. It would be a huge constitutional question and so you would need a vote across England, Wales and Northern Ireland."

On the issue of revising the Formula after a Yes vote, Mr Bone said: "It should not exist now. It would be doubly absurd if it were to continue after they had voted for independence."

Philip Davies, the Yorkshire Conservative MP, also insisted there had to be a referendum in England as currency union was "such a big constitutional step".

He said: "You would need the consent of the people of England but I don't think they would vote for it." He also called for the Barnett Formula to be revised, stating it was "unfair to England".

His colleague, Cambridgeshire MP Sir James Paice, who sits on the Commons Scottish Affairs Committee, said he did not think there should be a referendum on such a union as it was, in essence, "maintaining the status quo".

He added: "The far bigger question is whether the UK Government would be interested in a currency union with an independent Scotland; my gut instinct is that they would be persuadable.

"But what is the point of independence if you are entering a currency union with a country you have just left?"

In response, an SNP spokesman said that, as well as being badly out of touch with Scotland, the Tory backbenchers were out of touch with the people of England as more than 70% in the rest of the UK supported currency union.

He said: "Their ill-informed comments only serve to underline that the cost to Scotland of a No vote would be a slashing of the Scottish budget by £4 billion a year; something that MPs in each of the anti-independence parties have called for in a Westminster All-Party Group report.

"Scotland needs a Yes vote so that we can protect our budget and services from more Westminster cuts."

Today, Chancellor George Osborne is expected to be quizzed on a currency union when he appears before the House of Lords Economic Committee.

Contextual targeting label: 
Local government

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis.
If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.

210274