William Hague claims Scottish independence would 'delight' Vladimir Putin

Former foreign Secretary William Hague has claimed Scottish independence would “delight” Vladimir Putin and “put the United Kingdom’s “ability to be a force for good in the world at risk”.

William Hague has warned against Scottish independence.

The Yorkshire politician is among a series of senior Conservative figures including Michael Gove and Theresa May who have contributed to a new series of essays arguing for Scotland to stay in the UK which is published by the Centre for Policy Studies thinktank to coincide with the Tory Party conference starting in Manchester this weekend.

He writes that Scotland leaving the UK would leave questions over whether the former nation would remain part of Nato under independence.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

“The break-up of the UK will be a godsend to our enemies,” he says. “There are few results that would delight Vladimir Putin more than Scottish independence.”

He adds: "We know from the Russia report released last year that there have been credible claims that Russia interfered in the 2014 referendum.

“Similarly, the Atlantic Council has produced evidence that Russia has been running a disinformation campaign to discredit the result of the Scottish independence referendum result, including claims that ‘Yes’ ballot papers were added to ‘No’ piles.

“Russia’s motive is clear: breaking up one of the most successful unions of nations in history would both leave the people of Scotland and the rest of the UK more vulnerable to the malign influence of the Kremlin and weaken Britain’s ability to counter Russia on the world stage.”

The SNP have been in favour of an independent Scotland being part of Nato since 2012 after previous opposition.

Mr Hague, a former Tory party leader and Foreign Secretary, argues in his contribution that Scottish independence would diminish the UK’s position on the world stage at a vital time when the “international-rules based system is creaking, with the global response to the pandemic far less co-ordinated than to the global financial crisis of 2008”.

He writes: “Given that Western democracy is being challenged in a way it has not been since the collapse of the Soviet Union, it is more important than ever that Global Britain plays her role in defending democracy and liberal values on the world stage.

“Yet a surge of nationalism in Scotland puts the future of the United Kingdom and our country’s ability to be a force for good in the world at risk.

“Despite the SNP losing its ‘once in a lifetime’ vote just seven years ago, the party again went into this year’s Holyrood elections seeking a mandate to subject Scotland to another bitter and divisive referendum.

“Although the Scottish people denied the SNP a majority and this mandate, Nicola Sturgeon ploughs ahead regardless.”

Essays to be launched at Tory conference

The ‘Strength In Union’ essays will be launched at an event at the Conservative Party Conference tomorrow.

Andrew Bowie, MP for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine, said: “This book has been a labour of love and I am delighted it has launched at an important time for the Conservatives. The heavyweight contributions from voices such as Michael Gove, Theresa May and Lord Hague show the utmost importance of our Union to the party.

"The Conservative Party must remain laser-focused on the many things which Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland have in common, against those who would divide us.”

Support The Yorkshire Post and become a subscriber today. Your subscription will help us to continue to bring quality news to the people of Yorkshire. In return, you'll see fewer ads on site, get free access to our app and receive exclusive members-only offers. Click here to subscribe.