Kerr says Scotland being forced to leave EU would be a ‘democratic outrage’.

Calum Kerr, SNP MP for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk
Calum Kerr, SNP MP for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk

Borders MP Calum Kerr (SNP) has said that if Scotland is forced to leave the EU after voting to remain, it would be a “democratic outrage”.

Speaking on Friday, Mr Kerr also called for Scots on both sides of the vote to come together to consider our future, working with “an agenda of respect and tolerance to work out where we go next”.

He said: “Last night the Borders, along with the rest of Scotland, expressed clear support for continued membership of the European Union.

“I think this result shows that many of us understand the significant benefits the EU has brought.

“There was a very impressive turnout in the region of 73.4 per cent and while I was a strong advocate for Remain, I also want to reach out to the significant numbers of my constituents who voted to Leave.

“It’s vital that we now come together with an agenda of respect and tolerance to work out where we go next.

“We all need to take time to reflect in a calm and measured way on what this result means in the longer term.”

He intimated that his party would be doing everything possible to look after our interests in the next few days – including the interests of farmers and fishermen.

He said: “There are, however, some immediate priorities that we need to pursue. We must do everything we can to put pressure on the UK government to conduct negotiations in the interests of the entire country.

“In particular we must seek a solid commitment from ministers that they will work to mitigate the inevitable impact that this result will have on the rural economy.

“In the south of Scotland there’s the added misfortune that we were on the cusp of becoming eligible for the highest category of EU funding.

“The farming community, with its links to all the other businesses involved in the supply chain of the rural economy, currently receive billions of pounds of support from the EU.

“We need a clear assurance that this funding will be matched going forward. All parties need to work together to secure this aim. The sustainability of our fishing and agricultural sectors must not be traded away as the UK negotiates new terms for access to the European market.

“Throughout this referendum campaign, there was a consistent failure from the Leave camp to offer coherent alternatives on the details of EU membership. This complete lack of clarity must be immediately remedied with a solid plan for action.

“I’ve already heard from a number of concerned constituents who want to know how this result will impact on their lives. I will do everything I can in my capacity as an MP to seek answers on the various issues that are coming to the fore.”

Mr Kerr said that he would support foreign nationals living in the Borders who may be worried about their future, following the Brexit vote.

He said: “I’d also like to remind all citizens of other European countries living in my constituency that the Borders remains their home and I remain their MP. I will continue to do everything I can to fight for their interests at this uncertain time. “

He added: “At a national level, we need to explore all possible routes to keep Scotland within the European Union — in line with the democratically-expressed wishes of the Scottish people.

“We now know that the UK has two years to negotiate a way out of the EU. Scotland has two years to negotiate staying in.

“Overnight, British politics has moved into a very different phase and nothing should be left off the table as we consider how we can move forward.

“If Scotland is dragged out of the EU against its wishes, I think this would be a democratic outrage.

“In addition to seeking clarity on what this vote means in the short-term, we must also prioritise working towards the goal of Scotland retaining its voice in Europe.

“Membership of the European Union has enriched our country on a number of levels and was poised to offer the Borders a significantly greater level of funding and support.

“We must now work to explore every possible solution to keep these benefits in place.”

First Minister nicola Sturgeon has, of course, said that a second referendum on Scottish independence (known colloquially as Indyref2) is “highly likely”, a statement challenged by the region’s other MP, Tory David Mundell, the Scottish Secretary.

Speaking to the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland programme, he said: “I think it is very, very unhelpful that at this moment, where we do look to bring stability, that virtually the first thing that is mentioned by the First Minister, before the ink had even dried on the declaration of the result of the EU referendum, is independence.

“I think a lot of people in Scotland will have taken a step back and think that this is just opportunism in terms of trying to exploit a situation of uncertainty to push the independence agenda.

“Let us focus our efforts on getting the best deal for Scotland. I agree with the first minister if that is her desired outcome.

“Let’s negotiate the best possible deal for Scotland in these circumstances, but let’s not get bogged down in what is the most divisive issue in Scotland, an independence referendum.”