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Minister attacks Swinney EU claim

JOHN Swinney's assertion the Scottish Government would not have to apply for membership of the European Union but simply negotiate terms while Scotland remained part of the UK after a yes vote has been branded "ridiculous".

Danny Alexander, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, said the Finance Secretary's argument was like other Nationalist ones, which said with independence "nothing really changes – you keep the Queen, you keep the pound, any British institution that people in Scotland like somehow is retained; now they are saying Scotland can vote to become independent but not become independent; it's a ridiculous argument".

Mr Swinney made his remarks about negotiations in response to a report that said the European Commission had told the House of Lords Economic Committee – which is investigating the potential impact of Scottish independence – that the UK's EU membership would "cease to apply" to an independent Scotland.

The Finance Secretary said that if there were a yes vote in 2014, then Scotland would still be at that stage a part of the UK.

He said: "There has to be a negotiation about the detail and the terms of Scotland's membership of the EU but, crucially, that will be taking place at a time when we are still part of the UK, still part of the European Union."

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