Orkney councillors to debate loosening UK ties and exploring historic ‘Nordic’ links
Proposals for the Orkney Islands to loosen ties with the United Kingdom and explore their “Nordic connections” are set to be debated by councillors.
Council leader James Stockan has put forward a motion which says it is time for Orkney to consider alternative forms of governance which could provide more economic opportunity.
It suggests this could be along the lines of crown dependencies such as Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man.
The motion will be debated at a meeting of Orkney Islands Council on Tuesday.
However, No 10 has shut down the proposals, with the Prime Minister’s official spokesman telling reporters: “First and foremost, there is no mechanism for the conferral of crown dependency or overseas territory status on any part of the UK.
“But fundamentally, we are stronger as one United Kingdom, we have no plans to change that.”
The spokesman added: “We’ve got no plans to change the devolution settlement.”
Mr Stockan told the BBC that Orkney is being “failed dreadfully” by governments in both Edinburgh and London.
His motion states that “due to historical and contemporary challenges” over funding, “Orkney Islands Council should now explore options for alternative models of governance that provide greater fiscal security and economic opportunity”.
That should include looking at “Nordic connections, crown dependencies and other options for greater subsidiarity and autonomy to be presented to the community for consideration”.
The council leader’s motion does not commit the council to any of these options and the officials’ report notes that any constitutional change would likely require a combination of petitions, referenda and legislation at Holyrood and Westminster.
Orkney was under Norwegian and Danish control until 1472 when the islands were given to Scotland as part of Margaret of Denmark’s wedding dowry to King James III of Scotland.
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