A member of the British House of Commons says United States' national security could be damaged if Scotland votes to break away from the United Kingdom.
Brothers Sergi, left, and Aleix Sarri and their friend David Aguilar, all from Catalonia, who are visiting Scotland to support the Scottish independence referendum, gesture and hold up a placard supporting a Yes vote at passing motorists in Edinburgh, Scotland, Thursday, Sept. 18, 2014. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
“It's in the U.S. national security interest if the United Kingdom stays together,” British member of Parliament Mark Pritchard told TheBlaze.
The reason, he said, is that a weakened U.K. could risk losing its permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council, where it has been a staunch American ally
“If the United Kingdom became England, Wales and Ireland, the pressure would really be on for us to give up our seat, which we really wouldn't want to do and we would fight to keep it,” said Pritchard, a member of the governing Conservative Party. “That would not be in America's national security interest because if you look at the voting since 1947, it has been the U.K. not France or Germany that has stood shoulder to shoulder with the U.S. on the big decision.”
The vote on Scottish independence was underway Thursday; a total of 97 percent of those eligible had registered to vote, many of them 16 and 17 years old, in what looked to be a tightly contested race, the Associated Press reported. A phone poll of 1,373 people by Ipsos MORI, released Wednesday, showed that opposition to Scottish independence was at 51 percent while support was at 49 percent.
Pritchard was in Washington along with more than 100 members of parliaments and ambassadors from 24 European countries for the three-day Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Forum. Members of Congress from the House and Senate committees on homeland security and intelligence were participating in meeting with European lawmakers.
Pritchard said he anticipates Scottish voters will reject independence by 7 or 8 points, but believes there are global players that want a weakened U.K.
“If it broke up, I think there are many in Brussels that would be happy to see a disunited United Kingdom,” Pritchard said. “There would be some folk in the regime in Beijing and Moscow that would like to see a weakened United Kingdom. I say in Brussels because there are some in Europe that would like to see the EU get a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council rather than a U.K. seat.”
He said last year, a dozen foreign ministers from across Europe were calling for an EU seat on the U.N. Security Council. He believes France would be willing to trade its seat on the council if it increased France's clout in the EU.
“It raises issues about devolution of more powers to all of the kingdoms, the four kingdoms in the United Kingdoms,” Pritchard added. “Any ceding of power to those four kingdoms from London should not undermine the kingdom in the future. We should learn the lessons of devolving more powers to Scotland. A United Kingdom is a stronger together, a better together and a more effective ally to the United States together.”