Scotland warned it could lose the pound and be forced to join Euro as price of independence
SCOTLAND may be forced to join the euro as the price of independence from the United Kingdom, Downing Street warned today.
A spokesman for British Prime Minister David Cameron said there were no guarantees that the Scots could keep sterling if they voted against remaining affiliated with the rest of the union.
Mr Cameron’s spokesman said: “Once you start asking the question about independence, one part of that is what currency to have. Would Scotland retain the pound, and if so, how does that work? Or does it join the euro? That’s one part of the independence question.”
Other issues which Downing Street said would need ironing out are shared defence capabilities, the national debt and border security.
A carve up of assets between England and Scotland could leave both countries facing years of legal wrangling.
Today Mr Cameron told MPs that he passionately believed in the United Kingdom and accused Scottish nationalists of attempting to delay a referendum on separation indefinitely.
Speaking at Prime Ministers Questions, Mr Carmeron said too many members of the Scottish National Party were 'happy to talk about procedure' but did not want to take the step of actually holding a vote.
"I passionately believe in the United Kingdom," said the Prime Minsiter, "I passionately believe we are stronger together than broken apart.
"I believe we should have a debate because I think there are too many in the SNP who are happy to talk about the procedure.
"Its not a referendum, it's a neverendum.”
Ed Miliband said he believed "the United Kingdom benefits the people of Scotland and the people of the rest of the United Kingdom in equal measure".
"We are stronger together and weaker apart."
He called for "immediate cross-party talks" in Scotland about the timing of the vote and the nature of the "single question" which would be asked.
The involvement of the Electoral Commission was "vital", he added.
Mr Miliband warned: "This is a momentous decision which, frankly, our children and grandchildren will have to live with if we get it wrong."
With the SNP favouring a poll in autumn 2014, Mr Cameron said he did not "quite understand why they want to put off putting the question for so long" as they were "so keen to leave the United Kingdom".
Angus Robertson, SNP Westminster group leader, pointed out that there were fewer conservative MPs in Scotland than Panda's in Edinburgh Zoo and accused the Prime Minister of behaving like Margaret Thatcher by interfering.
Earlier in the day Mr Cameron was also accused of Thatcher-esque interference by Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond.
He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "I thought his intervention at the weekend was almost Thatcher-esque in its nature, the idea that London knows best and it is operating in our best interests but wanting to set the ground rules for our referendum despite the fact it has got no mandate whatsoever for doing so."
He added: "This, of course, was a departure on the part of the UK Government. It was not the language they were using, the language of respect, when the SNP won a huge majority in last year's election."
The First Minister said he was "always constructive about these things" and indicated a deal could be struck.
"As long as it is recognised that (there is a) mandate of the Scottish Parliament to organise and hold a referendum - it must be a referendum built in Scotland and decided by the Scottish people - as long as that is recognised, I'm sure politicians north and south of the border are capable of coming to an agreement some time this year about the ground rules for such a poll and certainly that will be my attitude."
Asked if he was wriggling away from putting a straightforward single independence question on the ballot paper because he feared he would lose, he replied: "I think listeners across these islands will not associate Alex Salmond and wriggling very closely together."
Mr Salmond rejected government claims that he has not legal power to hold a vote on Scottish Independence.
In a direct challenge to the legal authority of the UK Government, the Scottish First Minister pledged a referendum “made, built, and run in Scotland”.
He made a statement yesterday me less than an hour after Michael Moore, the Scottish Secretary, told MPs that only ministers at Westminster have the legal power to call a valid legal referendum on Scotland’s future.
Yesterday’s moves raised the stakes in the political confrontation Mr Cameron has triggered with the First Minister and his Scottish National Party over the future of the United Kingdom.
Mr Salmond has said he wants to use his majority in the Scottish Parliament to trigger a referendum no earlier than 2014.
But the Prime Minister wants to instigate a vote more quickly than that claiming the uncertainty is damaging the economy.