Scotland would have to ‘build something like the Berlin Wall’ in order to physically close the border, a politician has warned.
Fears have been raised that a hard border with England could exist because of either a coronavirus lockdown or an independent Scotland rejoining the EU, reports Insider.co.uk.
But Stewart Young, Labour leader Cumbria County Council, said: “If they were to join the EU there would be a hard border – look at the whole debate with Ireland, we either have a border on the land or a border in the sea. It is impossible to not have a border.
“Personally I don’t want to see Scotland leave the union. On the positive side, there would be jobs created because the physical border would have to be manned, but the impacts on trade, especially with tariffs, would mean the negatives far outweigh the positives.
“We’ve discovered though a recent Covid-19 outbreak at the Cumberland Infirmary [in Carlisle] that there is a sizable number of hospital staff who actually live in Scotland, and a border would have made things a lot harder.”
Polling is routinely placing ‘Yes’ ahead in the question of Scottish independence, and with SNP policy set towards Scotland rejoining the European Union, a physical border could be erected for the first time since Hadrian’s Wall.
Councillor Young added: “Nicola Sturgeon kept implying she would close the border in response to coronavirus, and I saw the people holding ‘Keep England out of Scotland’ banners, but the reality is you couldn’t physically close that border – you’d have to build something like the Berlin Wall.
“I think the disadvantages would greatly outweigh the advantages – an independent Scotland would have a negative impact on us.
“We’re probably about to enter the biggest recession of our lifetimes due to the twin impacts of coronavirus and Brexit, we don’t need the break up of the union added to that. The north of the county is tied economically to Scotland, we have very strong links.”
Former SNP Cabinet Secretary Alex Neil recently told ITV Border that if an independent Scotland rejoined the EU, there would be a need for a customs barrier in the middle of Great Britain.
An SNP spokesperson added: “The Scottish Government has no plans to close the border either now or post independence.”