Orkney begins official process to look at independence from Scotland

Kirkwall, Orkney, in the Northern Isles of Scotland

Kirkwall, Orkney, in the Northern Isles of Scotland

Jack Walters

By Jack Walters

Published: 04/07/2023

- 21:09

The archipelago off the coast of the British Isles is exploring possible options for separating with Scotland

The Orkney Islands have been exploring ways to break away from the United Kingdom and Scotland.

Councillors from the archipelago voted to investigate possible alternatives after taking aim at both Holyrood and Westminster.

The potential measures include leaving the United Kingdom or becoming a self-governing territory of Norway.

The motion was supported by 15 votes, leaving just six councillors in opposition.

First Minister Humza YousafFirst Minister Humza YousafPA

Following James Stockan’s proposal, the former businessman will send a letter to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and First Minister Humza Yousaf.

The council leader will also travel as observer to the West Nordic Council.

A meeting, which will not place in any official capacity, will be held in Reykjavik with officials from Greenland, Iceland and the Faroes at the end of next month.

He said: “Since Brexit, we have been looking to see where we can be the stepping stone to the Arctic.”

Rishi Sunak

Rishi Sunak


Stockan also drew a comparison to the autonomous Aland Islands, which sits between Finland and Sweden.

The comparison increasingly raises the prospect of Orkney becoming a strategic link between the UK and the Nordic countries.

He went on to tell councillors: “If we don’t get help from our governments, where do we look?

“I say it’s time for government to take us seriously, and I say it’s time for us to look at all the options we’ve got.

“This isn’t about us joining Norway, there’s a far bigger suite of options there.

\u200bThe Orkney IslandsThe Orkney Islands is considering leaving Scotland and becoming part of NorwayWiki common images

“It could be that we get our money direct from the Treasury in London.”

Holyrood’s local government empowerment minister Joe FitzPatrick, responded: “We are committed to build a stronger relationship with local government with mutual trust and respect at its core.”

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman also said there is “no mechanism for the conferral of crown dependency or overseas territory status on any part of the UK”.

They added: “Fundamentally, we are stronger as one United Kingdom, we have no plans to change that.”

A spokesman in Oslo appeared to pour damp water over Stockan’s motion, arguing: “This is a domestic and constitutional British matter”.

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