North-East Labour MPs warn against Scottish independence

Darlington and Stockton Times: Scottish Labour Leader Johann Lamont meets with Bridget Phillipson MP for Houghton and Sunderland South and Phil Wilson MP for Sedgefield at the Scottish Parliament, Holyrood Scottish Labour Leader Johann Lamont meets with Bridget Phillipson MP for Houghton and Sunderland South and Phil Wilson MP for Sedgefield at the Scottish Parliament, Holyrood

TWO of the region’s MPs have warned of “paralysis” and “a race to the bottom” if Scotland votes for independence, after talks in Edinburgh.

Labour MPs Phil Wilson (Sedgefield) and Bridget Phillipson (Houghton and Sunderland South) met Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont, at Holyrood.

And they discussed the implications of a ‘yes’ vote in September’s referendum with Government officials at the Scotland Office.

After the meetings, both Mr Wilson and Ms Phillipson said they were struck by a widespread failure to appreciate the extraordinary disruption of independence.

And they pointed to the Scottish Nationalists’ manifesto as posing a stark economic challenge to the North-East, the neighbouring region.

Mr Wilson said: “The officials stressed the paralysis that will be caused by a ‘Yes’ vote, from having to decouple two countries that have been together for 300 years.

“There will be huge implications for pensions, inward investment and immigration, as well as the currency. I don’t want to have to carry a passport to visit my brother in Scotland.”

And Ms Phillipson said: “My concern is that there will be damage to jobs, trade and investment in the North-East if Scotland votes for independence.

“I fear there will be a race to the bottom on wages and taxes, with the SNP promising to cut corporation tax in order to pull businesses away from our region.”

Asked whether officials were confident of a ‘No’ vote – given the polls – Ms Phillipson replied: “They are taking nothing for granted.”

Both MPs urged people in the North-East to make their voices heard in the looming campaign – even though they do not have a vote in the referendum.

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