NICOLA Sturgeon has denied lying to the Scottish people about an independent Scotland having to sign up to joining the euro.
The First Minister rejected the accusation after it was levelled at FMQs by Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross, following a report in the Times newspaper.
The paper quoted unnamed senior figures in Brussels who said an independent Scotland would have to commit to joining the euro before talks on joining the European Union.
“No euro, no membership,” one source said.
Opposition parties said it was a grievous blow to Ms Sturgeon’s independence plans.
The First Minister last week published a new instalment in her prospectus for life outside the UK which said Scotland would initially use the pound informally after a Yes vote, then switch to its own currency at some point, and only then rejoin the EU. No timetables were given.
She also explicitly rejected using the euro, saying it was not “the right option for Scotland”.
However the EU says “all EU member states, except Denmark, are required to adopt the euro and join the euro area”, although no timetables are set down, and nationalists have argued the process could be put off indefinitely.
Mr Ross asked Ms Sturgeon: “Who’s lying to the Scottish people, the European Union or Nicola Sturgeon?”
She quoted a number of sources, including former Tory PM David Cameron and the former president of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, as holding a different view to that of the sources quoted in the Times.
She added: “Many countries in the European Union still use their own currency. Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Sweden – a member state since 1995 still uses its own currency.”
Ms Sturgeon urged Mr Ross to “have a referendum and let’s have these debates with the Scottish people”, which Mr Ross called “desperate stuff”.
He said: “The First Minister’s big plan is actually to break Scotland away from by far our biggest trading partner – the United Kingdom – with nothing to show for it, in the middle of a global inflation and cost-of-living crisis.
“And she wants to put businesses and families through that in the next 12 months.
“The First Minister’s plan to escape the temporary issues of the past month is to create permanent chaos with jobs, mortgages, pensions and public services. Rishi Sunak is fixing recent mistakes – the First Minister would wreck our economy for good.”
Ms Sturgeon replied: “It is because I am focusing on people, businesses and communities and what is best for them – their wellbeing and their prosperity – that I want to see Scotland become independent, in charge of our own affairs and our own destiny, not continuing to be dragged down the wrong paths by Westminster governments.”
Labour MSP Sarah Boyack said: “Nicola Sturgeon’s farcical economic plans are in tatters and these damning comments create fresh doubts – but she has her fingers in her ears.
“The SNP seem to think they know more about economics than the economists and more about EU members than the EU.
“They are asking Scots to gamble their livelihoods without any real plans beyond dishonest promises, wishful thinking and fantasy economics.
“It’s rank hypocrisy for the Tories to lecture anyone on economic stability, but the truth is the SNP are offering more of the same.
“Instead of inviting more turmoil and division, we can deliver the change we need with a Labour government.”
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