Shetland and Orkney should be permitted to remain part of the United Kingdom if voters in the islands reject independence in a referendum.
That’s the view of ex-Conservative minister the Earl of Caithness, who has tabled amendments to the Scotland Bill currently going through parliament at Westminster. It will be discussed in the House of Lords later this week.
A “yes” vote in a Scottish independence referendum should, he argues, be succeeded by a nationwide referendum on the issue.
The earl’s amendment reads: “A vote in a referendum … which results in Scotland leaving the United Kingdom shall not be binding on the residents of the Orkney Islands or the Shetland Islands unless a majority of the residents of the Orkney Islands and the Shetland Islands who voted in such a referendum voted that Scotland should leave the United Kingdom.”
Shetland voted against devolution in the 1979 referendum but for the creation of a parliament at Holyrood in the 1997 referendum.