Lord Menzies “Ming” Campbell has said far more than “trade” will be lost as the UK leaves the EU at 11.01pm tonight.
The former Liberal Democrat leader spoke to The Courier about his concerns surrounding the UK’s exit from the European Union, following 47 years as a strong partner to the continent.
Lord Campbell, former North East Fife MP and retired Olympic sprinter, said the UK’s leaving the European project could have negative consequences for world security, adding the EU had stood up to Putin and “measured” an expansionist China.
Sir “Ming”, as he was known during his stewardship of the Lib Dems more than a decade ago, warns the UK is set to lose out culturally and economically due to Brexit.
He added his determination to avoid Scotland separating from the UK as a member of the union had been resolved after watching Brexit unfold.
“There are two important principles in my life — belief in Scotland’s position in the UK and the UK’s position in the EU,” he said.
“We have lost the second part of that, which only encourages my belief in retaining the first, that Scotland should remain as part of the United Kingdom.
“Leaving the EU is completely against our better interests. Not just in trade, but economically, and in terms of security and intelligence also.
“The EU as a whole is a political presence which, with the UK, would be greater.
“It would be able to stand up to Putin’s Russia, watch on an expansionist China and deal with the unpredictability of Trump’s America.
“We will be all the poorer when we leave.”
Lord Campbell was also a member of the intelligence and security committee, the foreign affairs select committee and the top level group of UK Parliamentarians for multilateral nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.
He added: “Security and intelligence has been shared and this is threatened now. Important mechanisms like the European arrest warrant will be under threat too.
“The UK has, until February 1 2020, a unique membership arrangement with the EU. It has not been part of the Shengen area, we were not compelled to join the Euro and we were given a rebate.
“If Scotland gains independence and makes an application for EU membership, it cannot count on getting a membership with the privileges the UK enjoyed.
There are two important principles in my life — belief in Scotland’s position in the UK and the UK’s position in the EU.
“In all likelihood Scotland would be required to join the Euro and the Shengen area.”
He concluded: “Leaving the EU weakens the UK, but weakens Europe too.
“(Sympathetic) countries like Sweden, the Baltic states and the Netherlands will feel the draft of the UK being out of the EU.
“The EU will not be a soft touch. I cannot see (an extension to the transition period) happening.
“Michael Barnier is a smart individual and a logical thinker but he will be negotiating on behalf of the mandate of the 27 member states of the EU.