22:24 GMT +319 June 2019
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    Will the UK Break Up Over Brexit?

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    The UK’s Supreme Court will soon be deliberating on two main Brexit-related issues: whether the UK government can invoke article 50 without parliament’s approval, and whether legislative consent has to be received from Britain’s devolved parliaments for Brexit.

    If no such consent if forthcoming, and if Brexit goes ahead, the Scottish parliament will very likely call for a new independence referendum, casting serious doubt over whether the UK can survive as one country.

    David Coburn MEP, leader of UKIP in Scotland, and Paul Monaghan, SNP MP for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross discuss the future of the UK and related issues in this program.

    David Coburn starts the program, by expressing that the Supreme Court will be very hard pressed to go against the decision of the British people. Paul Monaghan disagrees and states that the decisions of the Supreme Court are not questionable at all; in fact the Court is undertaking careful research and is deliberating very carefully on this issue.

    David Coburn says that he doesn't think that the Prime Minister will dare to do anything but give us a full Brexit, if she wants to keep the Tory party together. Paul counters this and says that not all conservative MPs want to leave the EU. He says that Scotland voted decisively by 62 percent for and 38 percent against leaving the EU.

    David Coburn says he had a meeting with the president of the European Parliament, Herr Shulzc, right after Nicola Sturgeon had held a meeting with him, and, according to David, no special deal whereby Scotland will be allowed to stay in the EU is on the table. Scotland will have to reapply but only after a referendum on independence and also after the creation of a Scottish Central Bank, David says. Paul Monaghan says that Scotland will be able to negotiate continued membership with the EU, as the EU is essential to Scotland's future success.

    The Sewel Convention, introduced after the Scottish referendum on independence, which requires the consent of the devolved legislatures as a precondition of Westminster ruling on devolved matters, makes it more likely that the Scottish parliament will be consulted before Brexit occurs. As Paul points out, it is inconceivable that Edinburgh will accept any legislation that will force Scotland to leave the EU. David Coburn says that international treaties are not a devolved matter, and that the courts should not be getting involved with any of this, and if they do, it should be after parliament makes a decision. David maintains that the Supreme Court should not be higher than parliament, an argument that could be described as academic. Paul says that the Northern Ireland Devolution Settlement is actually an international peace treaty, known as the ‘Good Friday Agreement,’ and is recognized by the UN because of the Sewel Convention. Paul points out that it is very hard to see how the UK government can go ahead with a hard Brexit if it doesn't have the consent of the devolved assemblies and the Scottish parliament.

    If Theresa May goes ahead with Brexit without the approval of the Supreme Court, Paul Monaghan says that there may not be a civil war, but there will be a considerable reaction. Such action would not be acceptable in a 21st century democratic state says Paul. David Coburn countered Paul’s arguments by saying that we entered the EU by a royal prerogative, and can leave it in the same way.

    Paul Monaghan says that there are grounds to believe that Northern Ireland would join forces with Scotland in the case of a hard Brexit and if the Westminster government does not pay due attention to the devolved assemblies and the Scottish parliament. Paul says that we are already in very close contact with our colleagues in Northern Ireland, and that the people of Northern Ireland are very concerned with what Paul calls the whole Brexit fiasco, and we have every right to develop closer relations [with the Irish] to try and help the UK Government make more sensible decisions.

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    European Union, Paul Monaghan, David Coburn, United Kingdom, Scotland
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