David Mundell calling on SNP to end Brexit 'doom-mongering'

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The UK Government has warned the SNP to cease its march towards a second independence referendum with Brexit "doom-mongering" and embrace the "opportunities" of leaving the European Union (EU).

Scottish Secretary David Mundell said SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon's warnings of a "lost decade" after Brexit are becoming "increasingly alarmist".

In a speech in Glasgow today, Mr Mundell said Brexit will herald "a phase full of opportunity for Scotland within the UK".

In advance extracts, he called for "a positive and responsible approach from those in positions of responsibility".

He said: "Doom-mongering warnings of a 'lost decade' and 'deep and severe' damage are becoming increasingly alarmist.

"Objective observers might wonder if the aim is to provide bracingly frank analysis or to try and talk up the challenges of Brexit in the hope of making Scottish independence seem less of a risk.

"There is no certainty that countries with their own independence movements to consider, like Spain or Romania, would look favourably on an application from an independent Scotland.

"But even assuming hypothetically that accession were a viable option, an independent Scotland's membership as a new joiner would not be an attractive prospect."

Scotland would need to join the euro, pay more towards the EU budget and open its borders to EU migration, potentially threatening free travel within the UK, he warned.

"From being a strong voice within the third largest member state, Scotland would instead be one of the EU's smallest members," he said.

Mr Mundell said the arguments for Scotland remaining in the United Kingdom are stronger than ever, nearly two years to the day since the referendum in 2014.

"I do not think that the UK's vote to leave the European Union does anything substantial to weaken the argument for the UK," he said.

"It certainly does not make Scottish independence any more attractive, viable or beneficial a prospect than it was in 2014. Indeed quite the reverse."

He added: "The vital Union for Scotland's interests remains the United Kingdom and I believe we are entering a phase full of opportunity for Scotland within the UK.

"First, because of the fundamental strengths of the United Kingdom, which have endured for centuries.

"There are the broad shoulders of the world's fifth-largest economy and the pooling and sharing of resources across its constituent parts.

"It is the UK's fundamental stability, even in the context of Brexit, which makes the case for the Union so compelling."

Michael Russell, minister for UK negotiations on Scotland's place in Europe, said: "David Mundell represents a Tory government which the people of Scotland overwhelmingly did not vote for, trying to sell them an EU referendum result that they overwhelmingly did not vote for - and these comments would be laughable were they not so ridiculous.

"Just a few months ago Mr Mundell, Ruth Davidson and many other Tories warned us of the disastrous consequences of leaving the EU - yet now they try and pretend that the UK offers some sort of stability or certainty for Scotland.

"So, rather than trying to insult the intelligence of the people of Scotland, perhaps Mr Mundell could use his speech today to justify why he thinks they should be dragged out of the EU - given that every single area of Scotland voted to Remain."