Does Brexit mean Scoxit? If UK loses access to EU single market, Scotland may go its own way
In the end, Brexit would have created deeper schisms than its proponents had imagined. Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said a second referendum for separation from the UK, popularly dubbed Scoxit, remains a choice for the Scottish people if Brexit ends up being a complete dissociation of the entire UK from the EU single market. While the Theresa May administration has said different deals/outcomes for different parts of the UK is not possible, with one of Sturgeon’s key advisors on the Brexit mandate fallout saying a separate deal is not politically and legally feasible, a second Scoxit referendum looks increasingly probable. With the region’s clear mandate against Brexit—62% of the Scots who voted in the June 2016 Brexit referendum endorsed ‘remain’—it would be a song for Sturgeon and the Scottish National Party to convince Scots that they should assert a break-away from the UK.
The challenge will be convincing the Conservative Party-led UK Parliament to allow a second Scoxit referendum, given even main opposition, Labour, is in no mood to allow this to happen. The Conservatives, even Scottish ones, have said Scotland will have more to lose if it negotiates a separate deal with the EU or moves towards independence in the event the UK loses access to the single market, given it will put at stake the significant volume of trade it has with the rest of the UK with the latter going in for a “hard border” policy. Sturgeon, however, has chosen to stand her ground saying a hard border will not be politically and legally tenable as the UK has agreed to maintain “soft borders” with Ireland, which remains a part of the European Free Trade Association and the European Economic Area. Though the EU restricting or completely barring the UK from its single market is likely to hurt both parties, all indications at the moment are towards a “Brexit means Brexit” end. Sadly for the UK, that could mean a lot more, though.