NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg has confirmed that an independent Scotland would have to leave the alliance.

“If it happens, then the UK will continue as a member of Nato but a new independent state has to apply for membership and then it is up to 28 allies to decide whether we have a new member.

All decisions in NATO are taken by consensus, so we need the consensus of all allies.

By leaving the UK it will also be leaving Nato, but of course it is possible to apply for membership and then the allies would then decide whether the independent state would become a member of NATO.”

It is understood that many believe Scotland would likely face the issue of having its entry challenged by Spain which is cautious of encouraging break-away states due to the independence movement in its Catalonia region. However in light of Spain’s recent statements regarding their acceptance of Scotland’s entry to the European Union, this is unlikely to be the case.

An independent Scotland would meet most the entry requirements of the alliance however it may not be able to join for many years if approved as the entry process for the alliance is lengthy.


  1. If a ‘yes’ vote then I don’t think NATO would want a non aligned state on it’s North Western European approaches for long but I do think NATO would be very upset about SNP position on Faslane. I could see Faslane ending up in some kind of trade off. Scotland can join NATO but has to Hong Kong style lease Faslane / Coulport to rUK.

    Who knows though, the world’s a very uncertain place right now!

    • Even the white paper “Scotland’s Future” indicated that Trident would be gone in one term of parliament – but then contradicted itself by talking about a 10 year transition for Faslane to the SDF HQ and naval base. I think that was deliberate “my door is open”.

      I think as I said below, there would be a 10 year period for the rUK to move its nukes out of Scotland, in exchange for the continuation of the T26 build, plus money, though the money could be in kind like training etc. I also think QRA North would transition, but that’s another story. It would if it was my decision, and WITHIN Nato it would be almost obligatory.

      Sturgeon is a different player from Salmond, but seems to be ready to appoint and listen to non-aligned experts – even if they disagree with her (as in her poverty czar). I think she too would be reasonable.

  2. So summing up the SNP they:
    1/ Want to leave the UK because the rest of the country is oppressing them and they aren’t heard, but want to be in the EU where they absolutely won’t get a say in anything at all.
    2/ Want the RN out of Scotland because it makes them a nuclear target but thinks it’ll continue to build the RN’s ships and (if this article is correct in alluding to it) now want to stay in NATO where because of membership they will have nuclear weapons on their soil and will be a target for any anti-NATO aggressor?
    3/ Like to convince their voters there is a magic money tree called London full of the hated Tories and when its stops spending extra money on them, they can stamp their feet and the Tories will pay. But if they get their way the tree stops spending on them all together, forever!

    There is such a thing as blind self destructive utterly unfounded hate and the SNP is very sadly full of it. Anyone but England. Not so much harmless fun?

    Guess if they win we’ll build another wall. At least the foundations are still there from the last one. The really sad thing is I don’t know very many people in the south who give a hoot.

    • Ali, we’re an independent Scotland to join the EU it would get a vote, the rotating presidency and a greater number of MSPS. It would also get a veto. But apart from that no changel eh!

    • I wonder if you still think the same as before now that other things have come to light.. There is no longer a United Kingdom… More disunited than ever due to your Tory Government… Examples… Our ELECTED FM can NO longer talk to the PM and must deal with the lying David Mundell who Westminster reckon is ranked as the same status as Nicola Sturgeon… JOKE.. After Brexit.. For which 62% of Scots voted to stay in the EU.. Being pulled out against our will. All laws will be returned to Westminster and they will decide which laws are devolved…. JOKE. The ceasing of the Barnett Formula.. JOKE.. The Dementia Tax. JOKE…The Rape Claue… ABSOLUTELY SCANDALOUS… But to name a few… If you’re gonna start spouting off about Scotland do your homework first… Take a look at the figures of how much Scotland actually contributes to the UK.. You will find we contribute a bigger % than the Government let on… The sooner we have Independence and get away from those money grabbing Westmonster Tories the better… SAOR ALBA

    • To Ali I think if you do a little research you will find out its your Westminster government that thinks Scotland is a money tree.For instance have you ever read the Macrone report.

    • Al….i I’m sorry this so called ” partnership of equals” is a non starter as far as Faslane et al is concerned does not bear fruit….you accuse the SNP of unfounded hate would ideally love the thought of you demonstrating to me this over Brexit. The UK is (insanely) heading over a cliff edge despite what the SNP and others have advised and are being totally ignored so where is the blindness there….perhaps ask Coronel Davidson?

    • I love the way people like you are so stupid you don’t even know how far into England Hadrian’s wall is , but hey, if you want to hand over all that extra land mass feel free, at least it won’t get fracked by the Tories !

  3. There are plenty of people in the rUK that do give a hoot. I would say most.
    i think as it is,uk parliaments decision to hold a referendum or not, lets have the referendum now eg next 4-8 weeks, that should take the wind out of the SNPs sails. I do not want to have to wait 2-3 years for a 2nd Scots referendum and have nothing but talking about Scotland on the news all the time when rUK needs to focus on brexit.
    I think militarily Scotland will have to stand alone for a while, meaning leave uk and apply to join NATO whilst Russia will no doubt fly test flights over their air space and send their subs close in shore to harrass and worry Scotland.
    The SNP want to leave rUK as they do not want to be controlled by a distant undemocratically voted for body. But you want to join the EU? What? Might as well hand your keys to Germany and get your name down for a vast financial bailout in 2021 2022 2023. £15-20 billion for each year right now.
    I like most uk citizens are getting fed up with Sturgeon and her cronies. Let Scotland leave and lets get on with the vote now…. But i think sturgeon and Scottish parliament need to sign a paper stating clearly that if they lose the 2nd independence referendum then they will not push for a 3rd referendum for at least 25 years just to give the rUK some peace for a while and a rest from all their rubbish.
    several things will definetly happen if they vote for independence.
    QRA north will move to leeming or cumbria/ Northumberland.
    nuclear deterrent will move south to Devon or Cornwall.
    all subs will move back to devonport
    all shipbuilding for MOD will be done in rUK none will go to Scotland.
    MPA Poseidon fleet will move south to Wales or northern ireland
    barnet formulary will end.
    say goodbye to free social care, free prescriptions, free university places.
    Upto Scotland but ultimately they will be far worse off, upto them.
    Alternatively Teresa may could just say shut up to sturgeon as they have already had a referendum. Numerically more Scots have already voted to remain in uk rather than stay in EU so decisions have already been made.

    • Well said! Fed-up with the whole thing. Remember also that the costs of these referendums are partly funded by rUK. We are getting to the neverendum where Sturgeon will just keep asking until she gets her way.

      • Don’t forget my man that that money comes out of Scotland’s budget anyway,money that is grabbed by the uk government,if the truth is known run don’t want Scotland to get independence because they would lose all the resources that Scotland provide ,resources that England doesnt have.

    • QRA North could move to Leeming, though that’s only about 70 miles further north than Coningsby. It would need work, and relocations from it – I think it’s used as a Hawk training base.

      The rest of your post is mostly off-topic politics I’m afraid.

      • If Scotland was blocked from joining NATO we could simply see what the WP had to offer, or you could put it back in your trousers and stop being stupid…

    • You’re spot on old fruit, that’s why Westminster is so gaggingly desperate to hold on to Scotland, they love spending out the money on us.
      A Gov that won’t even subsidise a spare bedroom to keep medical equipment for a sick child yet you think they subsidise an entire nation.
      Any more at home as stupid as you ?

  4. Even if Scotland leave, which I think this time round wont happen, I don’t believe for a minute that the UK ( and it is the UK not rUK) will allow our northern border to sit defenceless for years to come. Lets all try and remember that the Scots are not the enemy, as a people they are our very good friends, its only the SNP that are the issue. We might have to remove our Nukes from Scotland but other defence issues will simply be by agreement. My bet is that Scotland would join NATO as soon as was possible, Spain may object, but I think the UK’s strategic needs will out weigh that.

    Its very important that we don’t allow nationalists who are not the majority in either England Scotland or Wales to sour the relationships we as a people have built with each other.

    Scotland leaving the UK would be bad for Scotland in almost every respect ( bit like BREXIT in truth, but as a nation we voted for it) we don’t need to wish them harm if they do leave – we are British and I hope that what ever happens our sense of fair play as a nation overrides the desire to punish.

    ps… no I don’t support the SNP, I live in England, I just have a lot of Scottish friends.

    • I am a “Nat”, but imagine for a minute I’m the Secretary General of NATO, no don’t laugh, and am faced with this referendum of Independence for Scotland from the UK.

      My duty is to NATO and the 28 members, and for this my prime concern is the UK, a very valuable perhaps vital member. So while not taking sides in a purely internal member matter, I clearly lay out the problems Scotland will have, the membership requirements, that a MAP would be needed to be set up and at least implemented in some basic measures. And then I leave it at that.

      What I don’t say is that Scotland would be a valued member of NATO, that it has all sorts of exercise areas and bombing ranges and that its waters and indeed airspaces are of great importance strategically. If the media want to twist my words, then that’s up to them, I said what I said (and perhaps it’s actually on nato dot int).

      Then there’s a YES vote for Scotland and within minutes of the result I’m on the phone to Sarah MacIntosh “we need to talk”.

    • Why would we move the nukes? Much easier to annex Faslane and the surrounding area, much like Akotiri. If my deluded countrymen really do press the self destruct button (they wont) then it would be clear to me that the rest of the UK would owe Scotland zilch. Therefore to hell with them and act in the best interests of the rest of UK which would be best served by retaining the current submarine base.

    • I’m sorry to burst your bubble, but the problem is NOT the SNP.. The trouble is that most of England ( NOT SCOTLAND) voted for Brexit.. 62% of Scotland voted to remain… Where is the Democracy in that.?.. The SNP are only speaking for 62% who are being treated unfa1irly because of a decision made south of the border. The Tory Government is causing a bigger rift between the 2 Countries than the SNP will ever make… I’m not Anti English as I have friends and family who live there. What I am against is being told by a bunch of money grabbing screwballs ” shut up Scotland”.. Well i’ve got news for you!!! We will never be quiet until we are Independent and Free..

  5. Mr Stoltenberg is of course absolutely correct. Independent Scotland would have to go through the formal process of applying and being accepted by the current NATO members, and there would need to be a Membership Action Plan for Scotland, agreed between NATO and the Scottish Government.

    Would NATO want us? You’d think so, we do cover the GIUK (Greenland Iceland UK ) gap, and in fact so much it would have to be renamed the GIS gap. Strategically NATO diminishes far too much without us.

    But while that formal application was going through what then? First I’d think NATO would want to “spread its wings” around us anyway, including an effective Article 5 defence. Imagine those pesky Russians taking over and sticking missile bases all round Scotland, and flooding Faslane with her subs.

    Oh that’s right, Faslane. It would take 10 years for the rUK to move it (Coulport is the problem), and meanwhile they need to have agreed access and indeed, protection.

    So I’d guess all that would be needed would be an interim agreement between NATO and the (transitional) Scottish Government for full access and protection, and the MAP and concensus of acceptance into NATO takes its own sweet time.

    As for Spain. this is a red herring brought up a lot to make things appear difficult for Scotland “oh it’s all too hard vote NO”. However, the Spanish government has made it very clear that the situation with Scotland is very very very different from Catalonia, because it is in Spain’s constitution that there can be no secession, whereas if Scotland’s Independence is within the UK’s constitution, then that is OK with them. The Spanish “veto” is a myth.

    • If one looks into the past & origins of the SNP…. well, suffice to say that if it was an enemy of Britain then it was a friend of the SNP.
      What else could one expect from Scotland’s version of Sinn Fein.

      I think the NATO thing is a misnomer, the supposedly socialist SNP wouldn’t be caught dead in that ‘tool of western imperialism’.
      They’d sooner join the “collective security treaty organisation” with Russia & Kazakhstan etc.

      • “Following a vote for independence in 2014, the Scottish Government will notify NATO of our intention to join the alliance and will negotiate our transition from being a NATO member as part of the UK to becoming an independent member of the alliance. Scotland would take our place as one of the many non-nuclear members of NATO. ”

        It’s still SNP Independence policy.

        Personally I think it’s up to the rUK if it wants to

        • A very Sinn Fein move.

          “Don’t like this policy?”
          “Don’t worry, come back in 5 minutes and we’ll have it changed”

          Changing from being fervently anti-NATO to being pro-NATO when it became politically expedient show what a sham the SNP are.

          • It was fiercely debated at the SNP conference (I watched on TV), and 2 MSPs became Independent after it, with a third after the Ref. The vote was close – around 52% I think.

            But that 52% was around the same as an internal poll of members carried out in 2011 I found online, who supported full NATO membership as opposed to the previous policy of Partners for Peace (same as Ireland and Russia).

            As membership changes, so do views.

  6. “Agreed access”? So some nationlists think they are going to hold the UK to ransom over nuclear warheads? Interesting… lets wait and see what happens.
    If the SNP gets its way it will end badly. And thats badly for Scotland… it would be very upsetting for the UK but nothing that couldn’t be economically and socially absorbed very quickly. Somehow I doubt very much the UK will be held to ransom over nuclear weapons. Also I doubt such behaviour would endear a new country to NATO.
    I have met quite a few SNP supporters who base their ideas on fantasy Mel Gibson films! They have been filled with propaganda by bigots. Its a real shame some of them just can’t see how good the UK has it when we work together.
    “Dadsarmy” by-the-way was made up of British people who volunteered to defend the UK, not try and destroy it.

    • Oh dear.

      “4 All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.”

      You seem to be a Braveheart fan. Good movie.

      Yes, there were members of the SNP in the 51st as well as others, and it was a Scot basically started the SAS, with their motto thought to originate from the Scots: “Wha daur meddle wi me?”

  7. The problem with an independent Scotland wanting to rejoin NATO with the SNP in charge as far as i can see it has nothing to do with Spain and is mainly that the SNP is anti nuclear, yet NATO is a nuclear alliance… so what they are basically saying by wanting to rejoin NATO is, we want the reassurance of a nuclear umbrella, we just don’t want to pay for it our have it parked in our backyard… which is to me at least a massive act of hypocrisy!

    unless of course they know this and plan on doing some sort of deal whereby the UK deterrent can stay where it is in return for letting them back in?

  8. I think the SNP need to be in no doubt that the following military consequences of Scottish independence vote will occur.
    1) All MOD shipbuilding on the Clyde will end The first and possibly 2nd type 26 may get built otherwise all those jobs will move south of the border.
    2)) The nuclear deterrent with not be based in an independent country with the rUK being held to ransom by Scotland and having to pay Scotland to use bases uk taxpayers money built.
    3) Covering the GIUK gap will have to fall on Scotlands shoulders, their territory, their responsibility. Good luck with that one. Russia will be emboldened.
    4) all RAf and army basing in Scotland will end, of course Scotland will have its own small but capable armed forces, but not in numerical or qualitative equivalence to current uk armed forces.
    5) SNP must be a deluded bunch when the head of NATO makes a clear declaration on the difficulties of Scotland joining the organisation. I think there is a real risk of Scotland being deliberately left out in the wilderness and rebuked for some considerable time, certainly until the SNP have proven they can run a independent country well enough to not be a liability to their allies.
    That is just some of the military consequences, could go on for ever about the financial consequences but SNP supporting dadsarmy is right this is a military comments site so will stick to that if he can.

    • In reply by number (thanks).

      2). Conventional “wisdom” has it that Scotland is against “WMD”, but polls have proven this wrong. Recently from a Panelbase poll of Scotland taken by Wings, a PRO-Indy website, 46% said that the UK should retain its nukes, with 37% against. But 27% said the UK’s nukes should be in Scotland compared to 46% against. I think that’s both about right. For continued location of nukes in Scotland there’s the NPT, which means in effect that they can’t stay long – and in any case if I was Fallon I’d want them in my country, not someone else’s.

      Scotland as part of the UK has, by the way, paid our fair share (some say more than) of the cost of all bases including Devonport etc. But to relocate it without losing the CASD will take time, and hopefully the ScotGov will be co-operative in that move regards time – 10 years (with slack for delays).

      1). Therefore as I say, if I was the negotiator, while the nukes are in Scotland, the rUK continues to build on the Clyde. Plus cash.

      3). Yes. But there’s a transition and I daresay the rUK won’t really want the Russians flying over Scotland a mile from England, and having their Subs going up and down the Solway or north of Berwick. Hence:

      4). Seems sensible for me for QRA North to also transition. It’s kind of unlikely that from Day 1 of Indy, Scotland would be able to match that ability and capability of QRA North – kit and indeed pilots though some will be Scottish.

      5). NATO. It could go like that as the article asserts, but see 3 – GIS. And indeed your point that Scotland’s forces won’t be as large as the UK’s – though some maintain that at least they would be more focussed on defence of our own maritime waters, EEZ and airspace – plus contributing more to the trans-Arctic.

      As a poster elsewhere said anyway during Indy ref 1, if Scotland doesn’t have fast jet capability, the rUK will do it regardless of permission. Better with permission and location!

  9. Oh also forgot to add
    point 6) QRA north can easily relocate to a new airbase built by MOD in Cumbria or Northumberland. Dadsarmy is simply wrong when he says this cannot be done. Did he not see the size and capability of camp bastion in afghan. This base was built rapidly and was utterly effective as a frontline RAF and Army base, similar thing could easily be built in 12-18 months as a stop gap measure until the fully hardened hangars, silos and shelters can be built. RAF leeming was proposed as a supporting atop gap measure. A Eurofighter typhoon travelling at mach 2+ can cover lost ground from leeming in 10mins, also do not forget the SAF should respond to an intruder into airspace so we should all be fine. Our friends in the North will respond and ensure none of those pesky Russians get past them

    • 6). Camp Bastion is like comparing apples to oranges. Nobody doubts the capability of the Engineers. But primarily in the UK it’s a case of ground, ownership, planning permissions, public inquiries, flightpath research – and building according to stringent – civil – safety standards. Unless it’s under war conditions, the MOD is just as subject to civil laws as the rest of us.

      Nearer 15 mins at Mach 2 compared with Lossie. And that’s 15 mins each way, which means 30 mins less duration, and time in combat, if neccessary, as important for intercept as air supremacy. If say it was a case of taking over “escort” of a couple of Tupolevs from the Norweigan Air Force, to escort round so the French can take over, then firstly the Norweigans would have to go further, and it would be kind of handy if the Typhoons could overfly Scotland which would be fine as part of NATO, rather than fly the long way around.

      Which of course makes the case in itself for at least a transitional relationship for Independent Scotland with NATO – as I said before.

  10. It’s a massive gamble being taken by the SNP having a ref part 2 so soon after the last one.. If the Scot’s vote to stay in the UK then the First Minister would probably end up resigning her post plus Scotland would stay in the UK for the foreseeable future. Don’t forget what happened with French Quebec ! But without Scotland in the UK things would be fine, still would be a nation of 60 million people and one of the larger European nations when it’s comes to the size of economy. I think the Scot’s would have more problems after leaving the UK. Also on the whole the Scot’s lean towards the left when it comes to politics, their politicians at times would over spend and build up major debt and being outside the UK they would struggle unless they changed their ways.

  11. Saying all of that i would prefer the Scot’s to stay in the UK, but if they left i would feel fairly relaxed about the whole thing.. I would feel sorry for the Scot’s that wanted to stay in the UK though, they could come down south and join the other million or so Scot’s that live down here.. Big Grin !!!

  12. If ifs and ands were pots and pans there’d be no need for tinkers.

    If Scotland leaves the UK, so be it.
    If the Forces currently in Scotland need to come south, so be it.
    If we down south need to build new bases, so be it.
    The silliness of those in Scotland who think we would be utterly defenceless without them is laughable. In the scheme of things you will become a slight consideration, not a necessity.

    Good luck, you will need it. If things begin not to go well referendum wise, please ask us to hold one here, you’ll be gone in no time flat pal.


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