Lib Dem hopes for debate on Scots poll

The consequences of Scottish independence on key issues such as foreign policy have not been high on the political agenda south of the border, according to a senior MP.

Sir Menzies Campbell, a former Liberal Democrat leader, said he hopes Westminster’s Foreign Affairs Committee will come to conclusions about the potential impact on Scotland as well as England, Wales and Northern Ireland when it meets next week.

A panel of seven experts, including Sir Jeremy Greenstock, a former British ambassador to the UN, will appear before the committee as part of its first session on Tuesday.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Sir Menzies is concerned that there is no clear picture on whether Scotland will be considered a new state in the European Union or carry on as a continuing member. The implication is that uncertainty remains for the rest of the UK, raising questions about its role in international organisations.

Sir Menzies said: “There is no doubt that so far the issue of possible Scottish independence has not been high on the political agenda south of the border but the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Commons has a duty to scrutinise the foreign policy of the government and their consequences.

“In the event that Scotland were to become independent, a fundamental question arises, namely whether Scotland can be treated as a successor state to the United Kingdom or as a state which has seceded from the United Kingdom.

“Academic views on this are divided and one of the purposes of the committee’s investigation is to ventilate this particular argument.

“The reason why it is such an important argument is that whichever of these two positions is accepted will have different consequences in each case.”

The referendum is expected to be held in autumn 2014.

David Cameron will meet First Minister Alex Salmond on Monday in Edinburgh to agree a deal on the staging of the ballot.