PRIME minister David Cameron has announced he is stepping down in October after losing Thursday’s historic EU referendum, while first minister Nicola Sturgeon has said that a second independence referendum is now “highly likely”. Almost 52 per cent of UK citizens voted for Leave although Scotland (and Shetland) voted in favour of remaining a member of the European Union. Here is our Live Blog with local reactions (please refresh this page regularly):
4.30pm: Tavish Scott MSP says it is “hardly surprising” Nicola Sturgeon is already talking up a second independence referendum, but warns there are more important issues to consider following Thursday’s vote to leave the EU.
“The markets have fallen dramatically, the pound is on the slide, businesses are worried about the future, we have economic chaos caused by the Tories and I don’t think Nicola Sturgeon should be causing more chaos,” he said.
“People were very critical of the SNP during the last election for forgetting about standards in schools, the shortage of GPs and ferry fares.”
Scott said he was concerned Scotland would find itself dragged back into “endless debates” about independence, when other issues needed addressing urgently, such as the right of EU citizens to access Britain and the impact on the economy.
He also pointed out that areas like London and Liverpool also voted with Scotland and Northern Ireland to remain in the EU. “What the Tories have managed to do is not only split the UK< but England as well.”
2.36pm: The salmon farming industry has reacted calmly to the result of the EU referendum, saying it will continue with “business as usual.
Scottish Salmon Producer’s Organisation chief executive Scott Landsburgh said: “Scottish salmon will continue to consolidate its commercial success in the coming months and in the long term, with the accompanying benefit to our national economy and to the rural communities where the industry operates.
“This confidence comes from the fact that we produce a world class, premium product.
“Europe is an important market representing around 40 per cent of our export tonnage, but we export to more than 60 countries including the USA and Far East.“
Local industry experts have also commented that a drop in the value of the pound, as has happened today, is good for exports.
11.35am: First minister Nicola Sturgeon has said that a second Scottish independence referendum is “highly likely” after Scotland voted to remain in the EU while the UK as a whole voted to leave.
In a joint statement, the three northern isles LibDem parliamentarians Alistair Carmichael MP, Tavish Scott MSP and Liam McArther MSP expressed their disappointment.
They said: “This is a very disappointing result. While it is encouraging to see Orkney and Shetland supporting the UK’s continued membership of the EU, the overall picture this morning is one of division and uncertainty. The UK will now leave the EU.
“In all the uncertainty ahead we still firmly believe that it is not in the interests of the islands to cut our ties with, or isolate ourselves from our European partners. We have always been and are at our best when we look outwards.
“Our islands, and the country as a whole, need stability and time to come to terms with this result before any steps are taken”.
And here is SIC leader Gary Robinson, also on Facebook: “I’m not a Scottish Nationalist but I think Scotland must consider its position. So much for Better Together and ‘don’t let the SNP rip us out of the EU’. Thanks Dave.”
A Facebook post from southend councillor George Smith: “I really thought common sense would prevail. I believe in internationalism, not nationalism and I certainly do not relish the prospect of being ruled by English nationalism, for that is the outcome of the vote. Nasty nationalism at that.
“Maybe it is already time for Scotland to think again about its future , the future of our young people. Hopefully that can be as a social democratic internationalist country playing its part in partnership with its European friends to create and sustain a just and fair and welcoming society for all.”
Chief executive of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, Bertie Armstrong, said the organisation would do everything they could to ensure that the best possible deal is achieved for fishing during the EU exit negotiations.
“To aid this process, it is vital that we have clarity from both the UK and Scottish Governments on their future intentions for fishing. Our national governments must work closely with the industry over the coming months and years to ensure that the right framework is put in place to deliver a prosperous future.”
James Titcomb, the acting chairman of Wir Shetland, the group campaigning for self-governing autonomy for Shetland, decribed the the EU referendum result as “exceedingly good news for Shetland” but also expressed disappointment that the isles had voted to remain in the EU.
Titcomb said: The chance for our Fishing industry to flourish outside the disastrous common fisheries policy is of course excellent news for Shetland. But we must not be complacent. It will be up to our Westminster and Holyrood governments to design a management system to replace the CFP, and if some MSP’s in Holyrood get their way, we could be facing a situation where a newly independent Scotland attempts to take us back in to the EU.
“With the importance of the Fishing industry to Shetland Wir Shetland are somewhat disappointed that the local vote was for Remain. The status quo is always attractive, and we all hate uncertainty, but we face momentous change over the coming years. In the event of a second Scottish Independence referendum it is vital for all our interests that Shetland gets to choose itsown destiny.”
Local fishermen leaders were the first to react in a statement urging governments in London and Edinburgh to work with the industry to secure better fishing oppoortunities for the UK fleet.
Shetland Fishermen’s Association executive officer Simon Collins said.: “We will be looking to work together with politicians and civil servants in Edinburgh and London to focus on helping the industry secure improved fishing opportunities and a set of practical, sensible rules that everyone can adhere to while preserving livelihoods and fish stocks.”
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