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‘Clear and present danger’: So why did Theresa May go all Harrison Ford?

Harrison Ford in Clear And Present Danger, caught in the crossfire between global Britain and indyref2. Probably.
Harrison Ford in Clear And Present Danger, caught in the crossfire between global Britain and indyref2. Probably.

Theresa May says there is a “clear and present danger” of Britain’s 300-year-old union dissolving.

The former prime minister told MPs the biggest danger to the UK’s future prosperity outside the European Union was a yes vote for Scottish independence.

Mrs May, who rejected a request from Nicola Sturgeon to hold a second referendum while in Downing Street, told ministers a key task in the months and years ahead would be “maintaining the integrity of the United Kingdom”.

Theresa May
Former prime minister Theresa May.

In a debate on international trade, Mrs May said: “I want to mention one issue, which is a clear and present danger to global Britain, and that is the breakup of the United Kingdom.

“We’ve talked in this chamber often about Scotland and how important being part of the UK is to the Scottish economy, the reality is: England needs the rest of the UK as well.

“The United Kingdom has a seat on the Security Council of the United Nations. I doubt that England would have a seat on the Security Council of the United Nations, we need to think about the impact of this (Brexit).”

She added: “Global Britain has a role to play on the world stage but in order to do that the government needs to ensure that we maintain the integrity of the United Kingdom.”

Alyn Smith.

Independence in Europe

The SNP’s trade spokesman, Alyn Smith, who followed the former prime minister in the debate, said “global Britain” – the catch-all term used by Westminster to describe the UK outside of Europe – was being “inflicted” on Scotland “against our democratic wishes”.

He said: “The people of Scotland are going to have a choice and, as I say, I wish global Britain well, but I’ll be putting forward a different proposition to the people of Scotland: independence in Europe.

Paper talk: Scottish Government’s European charm offensive finds receptive audience

“There was nothing in EU membership that was holding the UK back from what it wants to do.”

He added: “We’re going to be putting forward the independence in Europe which will regain the rights for our exporters, for our universities, for our students.

“Unlike in 2014, the first independence referendum, these are real-world rights that have just been taken away from us and the consequences are clear.

“We’ll be able to set them against the aspirational advantages of global Britain, and I am confident that they will mean nothing compared to the losses that we have all suffered by leaving the European Union in the worst way possible.”

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