Whilst the whole of the UK – including Gibraltar – was eligible to vote in the Referendum on 23rd June 2016, the story in each individual nation within the UK was very different.

The counting of the votes was not categorised in terms of constituencies as it normally is for a General Election, for example; instead, votes were recorded in a simple single figure total for either Leave or Remain across the whole of the UK. However, television stations still illustrated voting results on a map of the UK, allocating one colour to represent localities where a Leave vote had been the majority vote, and a different colour where the Remain vote had been in the majority.

In both England and Wales, the map was made up of localities showing both colours. However, there was not one locality within Scotland where Leave was the winning vote. The map was entirely consistent in colour – the colour denoting a Remain majority.

The overall situation in the rest of the UK was mixed. The official voting percentages for the whole of the UK are shown below:

  • Scotland: Leave 38%; Remain 62%
  • Wales: Leave 52.5%; Remain 47.5%
  • Northern Ireland: Leave 44%; Remain 56%

Scottish Government Response

Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon has said that she is “utterly determined” to protect Scotland’s relationship with Europe and that a second Referendum in Scotland to decide whether it should leave the UK is “on the table”. She did, however, concede that she did not underestimate the challenges involved.

At an emergency debate called in the wake of the UK Referendum result, Scottish MEP Alyn Smith also said: But please, remember this: Scotland, did not let you down. “Please, I beg you, chers collègues, do not let Scotland down now.”

However, both the French President and Spanish Prime Minister have indicated opposition to the EU negotiating potential membership for Scotland.

If Scotland Left the UK

If eventually the decision was taken by the Scottish Government to remove itself from the UK, it could theoretically remain in the EU. Depending on the time line involved, it could either leave the UK before it left the EU and therefore remain a member state; or it would have to leave the EU and then attempt to re-join.

There would therefore be a clear divide between employment law in Scotland and the rest of the UK. Cross border working would also likely be subject to new laws e.g. the possibility of that visas will be required for anyone in the remaining UK countries to work in Scotland and vice versa.

For further assistance please call our Peninsula Brexit Employer Helpline on 0844 728 0139.