Scotland politics

Brexit 'would lead to more Scottish powers', leave campaign says

Tom Harris
Image caption Tom Harris said fishing and agriculture would be left to Holyrood if the UK quit the EU

Scotland would get "major" new powers and a bigger budget if the UK votes to leave the European Union, according to one of the campaigners backing Brexit.

Tom Harris, who is heading the Scottish Vote Leave campaign, said the new powers were part of a specific Scottish case for leaving the EU.

The former Labour MP said fishing and agriculture would be left in the hands of Holyrood if the UK voted to quit.

But pro-EU campaigners believe life outside the bloc would be uncertain.

Scotland stronger in Europe has warned that none of the alternatives would offer Scots as much protection as membership of the EU.

Mr Harris said other inducements for Scots to vote against remaining part of Europe included;

  • a cash boost for Scottish higher education once EU students pay tuition fees
  • and a £1.5bn windfall for the Scottish budget after contributions to EU institutions stop.

At the launch of the Scottish Vote Leave campaign, he said: "Major new powers - particularly in fishing and agriculture - would automatically be devolved to Holyrood, not Westminster, in the event of the UK voting to leave the EU.

"Any repatriated power that isn't already explicitly denoted as "reserved" in the Scotland Act 1998 is assumed to be the remit of the Scottish Parliament."

Mr Harris added: "Leaving the EU could also secure free university tuition for Scottish students, by significantly increasing the amount of money it can charge EU students attending Scottish universities.

'How can Scotland afford it?'

He claimed that the UK pays £350m a week to the EU for the "privilege of maintaining its membership" and that Scotland's share was £1.5bn a year.

This figure is disputed by opponents of leaving the EU as it does not include the UK's rebate or the money that it receives back from the EU.

Remain campaigners argue the true cost of EU membership is closer to £136m a week.

Mr Harris said: "We want potential MSPs to tell us what they would do with that extra money, or to explain why they think Scotland can afford to continue sending that money to Brussels."

Later in the week, other leave campaign groups will call for people in Scotland to back Brexit.

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