08:36 GMT03 August 2021
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    A legitimate case for the United Kingdom to exit the European Union in Scotland is faltering without a clear leader to the Leave campaign, the Scottish National Party (SNP) spokesman on Europe told Sputnik on Wednesday.

    EDINBURGH (Sputnik), Mark Hirst – The SNP are currently campaigning to secure a vote to remain within the EU, along with Scotland’s other main political parties, Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrats. Only UKIP backs an exit from the European bloc.

    "The pro-EU side is so far ahead in the polls in Scotland that one of the problems I see for the Leave campaign is over the question of who really leads their campaign," Stephen Gethins, a former adviser to SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon, said.

    Opinion polls across the UK give the Remain camp a narrow edge over supporters of the so-called Brexit referendum scheduled to be held on June 23.

    "There is a legitimate case to be made for Leave but I don’t see anyone emerging to lead it. You have Tom Harris from [opposition] Labour and David Coburn from UKIP [Euroskeptic UK Independence Party], but only Coburn and [ruling Conservative party lawmaker] Margaret Mitchell are elected representatives who back an out vote," Gethins stresed.

    He agreed there was a broad consensus that EU reform was needed, asserting that "nobody is saying it’s perfect," and underscoring challenges in trying to get all 28 member states with vested national interests to work together.

    "Remember the EU is not that powerful in itself. It’s independent member states that are powerful and you are trying to get institutions to have a common set of rules for 28 member states, and that is a good thing to get them to cooperate and work together, but you do have the issue of trying to create institutions that will allow for that," Gethins said.

    The lawmaker said he wanted to see major EU reform over fishing policy, public health and an end to the "two seat" parliament where EU representatives and their administrative staff travel monthly between Brussels and Strasbourg.

    Gethins, a member of House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, added that the EU had a "role to play and a responsibility" in working with countries on its borders. He voiced confidence that the UK would not "get dragged into conflicts against our will" as an EU member "because that just isn’t an EU competence."


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