Scotland's choice: Brexit with the UK, independence, or a special deal?

Discussion Paper

Picture of Dr. Kirsty Hughes
Dr. Kirsty Hughes

Associate Fellow at Friends of Europe

On 23 June, the UK as a whole voted to leave the EU, but the majority of voters in Scotland opted for Remain. Scotland now faces a choice, and soon: ‘hard Brexit’ within the UK, independence in the EU, or a special deal that gives Scotland individual membership of the single market.

Dr Kirsty Hughes, Senior Fellow at Friends of Europe, looks at the political and constitutional challenges facing Scotland, in an in-depth discussion paper.

This paper analyses the latest political developments, sets out a series of scenarios for Scotland, and lays out recommendations to decision-makers in Edinburgh, London and Brussels, highlighting that Scotland needs to decide soon on its destination. The legal and political difficulties linked to any special arrangement mean that Scotland’s choice will most probably be binary: remain in the UK and outside of the EU, or to become an independent member of the EU.

If it chooses the latter, the paper argues, it will probably need to do so soon, as delay reduces the chance that Scotland smoothly re-joins the EU at a later date.

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