• MySTV

Tories accuse SNP of 'cronyism' over EU law expert appointment

Drew Scott, who will advise the Government on EU treaties, is the partner of MSP Aileen McLeod.

EU: Devolved Governments not consulted over use of veto.

The Scottish Government has appointed an expert on European law to help them engage with the European Union (EU) in the run-up to the independence referendum.

Drew Scott, professor of EU studies at Edinburgh University, will advise ministers on European treaties as they prepare to negotiate the terms of entry into the EU if Scotland votes yes to independence.

But his appointment has sparked accusations of "cronyism" as Mr Scott is the partner of Aileen McLeod, former head of policy to SNP MEP Alyn Smith and currently an SNP MSP.

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said Prof Scott's counsel will be invaluable to ministers during his part-time secondment, which is expected to last two years.

She said: "Andrew Scott is an extremely eminent academic and one of the leading experts on the EU anywhere in Scotland. I am therefore absolutely delighted that he has agreed to offer his considerable expertise to ministers in the run-up to the referendum."

Prof Scott said: "I am very pleased to be joining the Scottish Government on secondment to help deliver a European engagement strategy and to provide expertise on EU institutions, treaties and policies that will underpin the Scottish Government's approach to defining options for the future."

The appointment follows a recent admission by the Scottish Government that, until recently, it had taken no "specific" legal advice on EU membership after independence.

It took the Information Commissioner to court to prevent the non-existence of the legal advice becoming known, and only relented after a costly round of preliminary legal proceedings.

The SNP administration believes it can negotiate Scotland's terms of entry into the EU in under a year and half, in the time between the referendum and their proposed Independence Day in March 2016.

Critics say this timescale is over-ambitious given the complexities of EU treaties and the politics of other member states, particularly those with separatist movements.

Scotland would face negotiations over the Schengen free travel area, which has the potential to create a land border with England, the euro currency and the UK's budget rebate.

Scottish ministers recently welcomed comments by UK Government advisor Professor James Crawford describing their timescale as "realistic" and suggesting that the EU negotiations may not necessarily be difficult.

Conservative deputy leader Jackson Carlaw said: "It's a shame the SNP's new special adviser on Europe hasn't been around this past year.

"Alex Salmond has clearly been lacking even the most basic advice when it comes to the EU.

"This won't repair the damage already done by the Scottish Government's complacent attitude on Europe.

"It has shown it can't be trusted to ask the simplest of questions on EU entry and has gone to extraordinary length to cover up those shortcomings.

"People want the Scottish Government to be honest on the issue of Europe and this cronyism will do nothing to improve the situation."

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check. That e-mail's already in our system. Please try again.
Forgot password?
This field is required. At least 6 characters please. Did you enter your details correctly?
If you've forgotten your details then use the 'Forgot password?' link.
Need to reset your password?

We'll send a link to reset your password to

We've sent you details on how to reset your password

Please check your email and follow the instructions.

Forgotten your email address?

Have you forgotten the email address that you previously joined with? Don't worry, by emailing enquiries@stv.tv we can help.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
At least 6 characters please
This field is required. At least 6 characters please.
You have to be 16 or over to join
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date
Type your full postcode and select your address This field is required. It doesn't look like you've entered a valid postcode. Can't find your address? Confirm the details you've given us are correct by clicking here

By continuing you agree to our Terms of Use, including our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy. Any issues contact us.

Upload Profile Picture

Please make sure your image is under 2mb in size and a valid JPG, PNG or GIF.

Are you sure?

Unfortunately, you'll be unable to access our premium content. We’ll be sorry to see you go, but if you change your mind you can rejoin us at any time.

Please verify your STV account

Please verify your STV account using the email we sent you. If you have lost the email, we can send you another one, just click the button below.


We've sent you a new verification email.
Please check your email and follow the instructions to verify your account.

Welcome to STV
Thanks for joining us.


Sorry, you must be at least 12 years old to place a vote for your Real Hero.

Please review our Voting Terms of Use for more information.


Sorry! It seems that you are using a browser that is incompatible with our voting service.

To register your vote please copy the below URL in to your regular mobile browser. We recommend Google Chrome, or Safari.



Sorry, you seem to have already voted in this category.

Thanks for voting

Now share your vote with friends on your social network

Share on twitter Share on facebook

Cast your vote

Please register or sign in to continue.

Cast your vote

This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date

Cast your vote

Please fill out this form to cast your vote. As you are under 16 years old you will not create an STV account. Why do we need these details?

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check.
Location This field is required.
Parental Consent This field is required.

That's you. All that's left is to click the 'Submit Vote' button below. By doing so, you confirm that you and your parent or guardian have read and accept our Voting Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Cookie policy, and that the details you have entered are correct. We'll look after them as carefully as if they were our own.