POLITICS

Ban Scots From Voting In 2015 Election If They Choose Independence, Says Veteran Tory

08/09/2014 13:19 BST | Updated 08/09/2014 13:59 BST
Katie Collins/PA Archive
John Redwood MP looks on as Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne comments on the Economic Competitiveness Policy Group Report.

Scots should be banned from voting in the 2015 general election if they choose independence in the referendum in ten days time, a former Conservative cabinet minister has said.

On 18 September Scotland will vote on whether to stay in the United Kingdom or for separation. If the Scots choose independence then Scotland is expected to become fully independent by 2016.

However between then and now there is the small matter of the 2015 UK-wide general election. Under current arrangements Scotland would still be entitled to to take part, despite being on the verge of becoming foreign country.

The possibility of Scottish voters deciding whether Ed Miliband or David Cameron becomes the next prime minister has led to calls for the election to be delayed until after separation.

However writing on his blog on Monday, John Redwood, the former Welsh secretary, said the first thing parliament should do in the event of a Yes vote was to pass legislation cancelling the general election in Scottish constituencies.

"This would say that Scottish members of the Westminster Parliament will no longer vote on any matter not applying to Scotland, and will take no part in settling the response of the rest of the UK to Scottish withdrawal. It would also cancel the May 2015 general election in Scotland. Current Scottish MPs would continue for their residual functions until the split of the kingdoms in completed," he said.

"There is no need to delay the General Election in the rest of the UK. The new government for the rest of the UK should be formed from the winners of the election in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The remaining Scottish MPs would be excluded from calculating the majority and would not be eligible to be ministers."

In 2015 Scotland would send 59 MPs to Westminster. In 2010 an overwhelming majority, 41, of Scottish MPs elected were Labour. By contrast, just one Tory was elected. Labour has been consistently leading in the nationwide polls, but in a closely fought general election, Miliband could find it extremely difficult to pull together a majority without MPs from Scotland.

Redwood made the demand amid suggestions that a Yes vote could lead to Cameron and Miliband both facing pressure to quit. The Daily Mail reported this morning that both Tory and Labour MPs believe their leaders would not be able to survive the loss of the union.

Today Downing Street insisted the British government had not made any contingency plans for the break-up of the UK, despite a recent poll suggesting the Yes campaign led by Alex Salmons has taken a slight lead in the polls. The YouGov research for the Sunday Times that put support for independence in the lead for the first time at 51% compared to 49% for No.