Scottish Independence Would Harm Scotland's Security Says Nick Clegg


Scotland is better protected from organised crime, terrorism and economic shocks as part of the UK, according to the Deputy Prime Minister.

Nick Clegg will set out "the positive economic case for Scotland remaining in the United Kingdom and the European Union" in a speech to the Scottish Chambers of Commerce in Edinburgh tomorrow.

The Liberal Democrat leader will stress the economic, legal, scientific and sporting achievements of Scotland as part of the UK.

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Travel Zen: Scotland

He will say: "Over the last three centuries, we've worked together, lived together and faced the world together.

"We've created some of the most respected and enduring institutions in the world - our welfare state, the Royal Society and Edinburgh Festival.

"And whether it's Adam Smith laying the foundations of our modern economy; our lawyers leading on the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; our scientists working together to discover life-saving drugs like penicillin; or even Sir Chris Hoy racing around the velodrome at London 2012, again and again, we've blazed a trail.

"We've extended our nations' reach and influence far beyond our borders and shores.

"As part of a single domestic market with its view fixed resolutely outward, British products - Scottish products - have unparalleled market access, with an embassy and consular network that can promote them around the world.

"But Britain abroad is not just about selling things. It's about using our size and scale as a force for good - as a strong voice in the EU, UN Security Council, Nato and G7."

He will add: "Organised Crime. Terrorism. None of us are insulated against these problems now. And together, we can better protect our citizens - with cross-border police operations and the work of our intelligence services.

"And, as part of the UK, when we're hit with a once-in-a generation shock to our economy, with our financial sector in free-fall, we know that the UK's shoulders are broad enough to cope.

"We saw this six years ago. And, together, we've rebuilt the UK economy on the foundations of our strong, stable currency union, shared regulatory and fiscal systems and financial clout to boost the UK's competitiveness.

"Above all else, this is a shared recovery driven by our shared strengths - in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland."

Former Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy has also called on voters who want Scotland to remain in the UK and the EU to stand up and make their voices heard at the European elections this week.

The Highland MP said: "This election comes down to one very simple question. Are you in or are you out?

"On Thursday people in Scotland can make a positive choice about who stands up for them in Europe. They can elect yet another nationalist MEP who wants to break up Britain, a Ukip MEP who wants to break up Europe or Liberal Democrat MEP George Lyon who believes we're better together.

"It is essential that those of us who understand that Scotland can achieve more as part of something bigger stand up and make our voices heard between now and polling day on Thursday.

"Despite the rhetoric from some of the other parties, Nick Clegg is the only party leader to have taken on Ukip's lies head on and clearly stated the positive case for keeping Scotland and the UK in Europe. If you agree with Nick then now is the time to take a stand.

"This is no time for shrinking violets. If you believe that our place in the UK family is essential to jobs and our place in the world you need to shout it from the rooftops.

"If you know that being part of the EU means more opportunities for Scottish businesses and helps tackle things like climate change then now is the time to be loud and proud."

Speaking ahead of Mr Clegg's address, Nora Senior, chair of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said: "Scottish businesses have stronger aspirations than ever before and are reaching out to international markets for business opportunities, boosting Scotland's reputation as a global player and contributing to Scotland's economic development.

"Scottish Chambers of Commerce is ready, willing and able to lead a business-focused approach to tap into the potential of overseas markets, in partnership with Government and partners.

"One of Scotland's most important markets is the European Union. Scottish businesses export almost £12 billion of goods and services to the EU, accounting for 45% of our international trade.

"That is one of the reasons why this week's European Parliament elections matter to Scottish businesses because decisions made in Europe directly impact on us.

"Our recent business survey showed that most Scottish businesses welcome the economic opportunities provided by our membership of the European Union.

"We recently surveyed our members on the issues surrounding the independence referendum and businesses gave the clear view that Scotland's exit from the EU - either as part of the UK or as an independent country - would have a negative impact on their business.

"We need to have the right relationship with Europe, and we look forward to hearing from the Deputy Prime Minister on these issues."

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