Sturgeon says she will be ‘frank’ on challenges of post-independence border

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Nicola Sturgeon has said she will be “frank” about the challenges a border between an independent Scotland and the rest of the UK would pose.

The First Minister said she would set out more detail on how trade would work between Scotland and the rest of the UK in future papers which will form her independence prospectus.

On Tuesday, she published the first of these papers, part of a series called “Building a New Scotland”.

Earlier this year, the UK in a Changing Europe think tank published an extensive paper examining the issue of borders after Scottish independence.

It says some of the cross-border arrangements envisaged in the 2014 referendum will not be possible due to Brexit, as a new land border between the EU and the rest of the UK would be created.

Nicola Sturgeon
The First Minister answered questions from journalists (Russell Cheyne/PA)

She said: “Of course we will confront the implications of Brexit, which of course is not something the Scottish Government has chosen, but does – you’re right to say – present different challenges around these issues.”

The First Minister said the UK Government was in a “deep mess” because of the Northern Ireland Protocol, due to UK ministers not “levelling” with people about the implications of the deal.

She said Scotland would remain in the Common Travel Area, adding: “But the issues in terms of regulatory and customs issues around goods, we’ve got to work out how that operates in a way that would fulfil the requirements that would be on us in terms of European Union membership.

“We need to set out how we would deal with that in a way that isn’t damaging to the south of Scotland and isn’t damaging to businesses.”

She continued: “I’m not going to shy away from any of these issues, I think the benefits of Scotland being independent far outweigh any of these challenges, but how we overcome the challenges is important and we have a duty to set that out clearly.

“And the future work in this series will do that.”

She said: “I am not going to repeat the mistakes of Boris Johnson and pretend that implications of the decisions we take don’t exist.”

Ms Sturgeon continued: “I will be frank. I’ve said very clearly, there will be customs and regulatory issues on trade if we are in the single market.

“I think the benefits of being in the single market outweigh the challenges there.

“What I’m saying to you very frankly is we need to set out how those challenges will be met.”

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