A guarded border with Scotland ‘won’t happen’, a North East MP has said, following an alleged Labour claim independence could lead to a manned frontier.
Ed Miliband is alleged to have said he would ‘look into’ border guards and passport checks between the North East and Scotland, according to a Sunday newspaper report.
As Labour’s press team yesterday denied a ‘new Hadrian’s wall’ in the North, Blyth Valley MP Ronnie Campbell backed his party, branding border suggestions as ‘ridiculous’.
He said: “It’s absolute rubbish. You can’t put guards on the border. It’s just plain ridiculous. I would hope that if they got independence we wouldn’t go down that line and put border controls on.
“If Scotland gets independence we won’t put in border controls and neither would the Scotch if they get power. I think we will try working in partnership if the vote is a yes.”
Alex Salmond’s Scottish Nationalist Party has so far said that a separate Scotland would be part of an area of free movement between the rest of the UK and Ireland.
However Mr Miliband is reported in the article in the Mail on Sunday as saying that only by maintaining a union would the country avoid introducing a border.
Labour yesterday tweeted a message that no border control plans were on the table. It read: “Ridiculous splash in Mail on Sunday. There is no Labour ‘plan’ for border guards in independent Scotland and nor does Ed say that. Rather than establishing borders, Ed is focused on keeping the UK together.”
However Julie Pörksen, the Liberal Democrat candidate hoping to take Sir Alan Beith’s Berwick-upon-Tweed seat in next year’s General Election, said that independence means a controlled border in Northumberland could be unavoidable.
If Scotland joins the EU as a new member it would have to adopt the Shengen open borders scheme which means people would be free to fly into Scotland without immigration checks.
As Britain opted out of the scheme, it may need to install a manned border to vet travellers.
Ms Pörksen, said: “Any new country joining the EU which has to be part of the Shengen area. The UK isn’t in the Shengen agreement so there has to be a border.
“If they were to get independence but do not join the EU then Northumberland becomes the border of Europe. If these questions had been answered earlier it would be easier for voters to make an informed decision.”