By a Newsnet reporter
Prime Minister David Cameron and former Lib Dem leader Charles Kennedy have been called on to correct statements and apologise to the House of Commons, after both claimed remarks by the EC President Jean-Claude Juncker were a reference to the independence referendum.
Both men were taking part in today’s Prime Minister’s Questions when Mr Kennedy suggested Mr Juncker had said an independent Scotland would face a five year wait to get back into the EU.

Making reference to the independence referendum, Mr Kennedy said of Mr Juncker’s remarks: “Shouldn’t the Scots voters bear those words in mind.”

Responding, Mr Cameron agreed and claimed Mr Juncker’s comments were “… very important in the context of the Scottish referendum debate.”

The exchange between the former Lib Dem leader and the Conservative Prime Minister was immediately condemned by SNP MP Angus Robertson who called a point of order and demanded both correct their statements, which he called ‘bogus’.

Addressing the chamber, Mr Robertson said: “Charles Kennedy’s question and the prime minister’s response must be corrected at the earliest opportunity – as they continue  to refer to something that has been completely denied by Mr Juncker’s spokeswoman as having anything to do with Scotland.”

Yesterday, Jean-Claude Juncker, who replaced Jose Manuel Barroso as head of the EC, said: “There will be no new enlargement in the next five years,”.

He added: “The EU needs to mark a pause in its enlargement process so that we can consolidate what has been done with 28,”

Immediately, leading members of the anti-independence campaign were claiming the remarks were a reference to an independent Scotland, and that a Yes vote would mean five years in the Euro wilderness.

However within hours of the claims, an official from Mr Juncker’s office told a BBC reporter that the comments were not in relation to Scotland.

Mr Robertson added: “The clarification could not have been clearer. I have now raised a point of order in the House to ask both Mr Kennedy and the prime minister to correct the record, withdraw the bogus assertions and apologise to the chamber.”

Newsnet Scotland can also reveal that EU sources have today told us that Mr Juncker’s remarks ‘clearly’ had nothing to do with Scotland – and that, on the issue of Scottish independence, they will ‘cross that bridge when they come to it’.

The intervention of the EU officials will be seen by some as a sign of the irritation felt in Europe at the attempt to draw Jean-Claude Juncker into the independence referendum and the misrepresentation of his remarks.

Earlier Mr Juncker’s official spokeswoman, Natasha Bertraud, told Newsnet Scotland that the speech from the EC President was not in fact new.

She said: “Mr. Juncker’s presented his political guidelines for the next European Commission in front of the Parliament yesterday.  It is in this context that he said that, after 13 enlargements in the space of 10 years, there will be no further enlargements of the European Union for the next 5 years.

“This is indeed not unexpected as this formed part of his electoral programme during the campaign (see”

On the independence referendum, Ms Bertraud added: “As for Mr Juncker’s position on Scotland, he has made this clear on numerous occasions – this is an internal matter for the UK and he will respect the result of the Scottish referendum.”

Commenting, Angus Robertson said: “It took a phone call to Mr Juncker’s office from the BBC yesterday to establish that he was not referring to Scotland.  Simple as that.

“To continue repeating and repeating the assertion that it does – does not make it true – although that has become a hallmark of the No campaign’s strategy.  The No campaign are clearly guilty of distorting the newly-elected European Commission President’s words to suite their ends – which is in itself a very serious matter – and we have also asked them to withdraw these bogus assertions and apologise.

“With Mr Cameron’s appointments in the reshuffle it is even clearer that the only threat to Scotland’s place in Europe is a Westminster in/out referendum and now – for the first time ever – the UK has a Foreign Secretary who has advocated withdrawal from the EU.

“Only a Yes vote guarantees Scotland remaining part of the EU – and with the clout of full member state status to protect and promote Scottish national interests.”


Jacque De Molay
2014-07-16 20:03

I did not expect this from Kennedy. I had considered him the last of the LibDems with any honour. However he has proved me wrong and is just another Tory puppet setting up his Master for a sound bite.

I can only assume he is setting himself up for the Lords. He had fooled me but I suppose the LibDems managed to fool a lot of people.

I can only hope that He and his party are given a very clear message at every election for the next 20 years at least.
2014-07-16 22:37

Lib Dems with honour !?!?
You’re ‘avin a laugh !

They are UNIONISTS for God’s sake
They have never had, do not now have, nor ever will have, Scotlands best interests at heart.

Got it ?

2014-07-16 20:14

A bit of pay back from Juncker to Cameron after his attempt to block his appointment.
Making it clear that Scottish membership would be an internal matter for the EU completely negates the bogus statements made by the British state and it’s press and obviates the need for the British state to seek legal clarification(n  ot that they ever had any intention of so doing).
A Yes vote means we stay in the EU and a No vote leaves that decision up to whoever England decides to next elect as it’s government.
2014-07-16 20:15

This lot will never apologise as it takes honesty ,guts and integrity to admit you were wrong.
2014-07-16 21:09

I’m genuinely beginning to wonder if there will be any point in voting “yes” in the referendum come September 18.

The ballot is going to be decided on the basis of blatant Unionist lies spread far and wide through a hostile mass media, most of which go completely unchallenged by the “Yes” campaign.

They simply have no answer to this all-powerful Unionist weapon.

It’s ridiculous to believe Twitter, a few pro-independence websites and knocking on doors is going to be enough to negate the power of these incessant anti-independence lies. They must be having a seriously detrimental effect on the chances of a “Yes” vote.
2014-07-17 05:34

I’ll be outside that polling station before the doors open personally.

Maybe just me, but I don’t like bullies and liars.
2014-07-17 09:19

No, it isn’t just you. I don’t like bullies and liars either. But I assume you know that to beat a bully you have to face them down. Ignoring them doesn’t work.
2014-07-17 13:02

We are facing them down Brodie, that’s why they’ve lost a 24pt lead since this time last year. That social media, blog sites and grass roots campaigning is paying off.

Of course it would be great to have a title or two on side, but we’ve gotten within touching distance without them because people have have been motivated enough to start up blogs, knock on doors, arrange YEStivals and meetings involving others. The opposition haven’t been ignored, they’ve been faced up to and then some.
2014-07-17 16:21

I’m sorry I don’t agree they are facing them down.

What I see is the Unionists telling bigger and bigger lies with complete impunity.

For many people “reality” is what they see on TV news.

The Unionists are controlling that “reality” at will.

Even when the lies are debunked there is no blanket coverage of the “correction”, so the damage to “Yes” is nearly always full impact.

If the referendum is lost it will be the Unionists’ unfair media advantage that will have won it.

Unfortunately for “Yes” by then it will be too late to do anything about it.

2014-07-17 10:18

If other people have the same attitude, we won’t get a yes. Never give up.

“Vote early and vote often” as they used to say in Ireland.

2014-07-16 21:18

It’s just another unionist pig in a poke.

Would I vote YES if it kept Scotland in the EU? Yes, I would.

Would I vote YES if it meant Scotland expelled from Europe? Well, that won’t happen, but even if it did? Guess what. I’d still be voting YES.

All roads lead to me voting YES, so Westminster and the BBC can bump their gums about whatever amuses them. They are all but irrelevant to the real debate.
Alien Act
2014-07-17 00:23

I would never contemplate anything other than a Yes vote, but like Brodie I would like to hear more from the SNP and the Yes campaign.

I get a little fed up reading scare story after scare story, warning after warning, but no rebuttal from Yes.

I just hope it’s coming and it won’t be too late when it does.
2014-07-17 15:51

Perhaps the rebuttals are there but not widely reported?

2014-07-16 23:14

What does it mean when Juncker says he’ll respect the vote? I should bloody well hope he would but what does it actually mean? Does that mean that they’ll simply accept Scotland as a continuing yet new nation or what?

I’m getting fed up of the EU making pronouncements and then not making themselves clear. This could all be cleared up if the EU said, “Scotland? Well, they’re already a member, they comply with all our laws so they’ll just continue as a member but under their own steam.” Instead there’s all this constant nonsense, obfuscation and sucking up to Westminster.

The way the EU have handled this has made me very against being a part of it. Let’s just join EFTA and leave them to fish their own damn waters.

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