And Dr David Shiels also warned Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon there could be no guarantees an independent Scotland would be permitted to rejoin the EU even if it tried. Dr Shiels, a policy analyst with Open Europe, made his claim during the course of a blog on the think tank’s website written in the wake of yesterday’s Queen’s Speech.
He wrote: “The Government has confirmed that it will close down the Department for Exiting the European Union (DExEU), and there are even reports that the Prime Minister wishes to discourage the use of the word ‘Brexit’ by officials and Ministers.
“Abolishing DExEU is not just a symbolic move.
“It is likely to mean that EU relations are managed more centrally from Downing Street and the Cabinet Office, reducing the Whitehall turf wars that blighted phase 1 of the Brexit negotiations.
“However, the Government will also need to ensure that key expertise is not lost.”
Keen eurosceptic Dr Shiels said coming as it did after “months of political stalemate”, the UK’s exit from the bloc would have a profound effect on British politics.
He added: “Boris Johnson’s victory in the general election last week appears to have brought an end to the decades-long ‘civil war’ in the Conservative Party over the question of Europe.
Dr Shiels said with the Brexit conundrum resolved, another key issue facing the UK at beginning of a new decade was the future of the Union itself.
He explained: “Since the referendum in 2016, many commentators have said that Brexit will hasten the end of the UK in its current form.
“The First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, is seeking powers for the Scottish Parliament to allow another independence referendum, pointing out that her party’s mandate in Scotland is greater than Johnson’s mandate in the UK as a whole.
“The Westminster Government will have to tread carefully as it tries to keep another referendum off the agenda for now.”
There was no doubt Brexit had offered the SNP a chance to revive independence talk more quickly than it would have been able to otherwise following the 2014 independence referendum.
However, he said: “The terms of the debate will change again after Brexit becomes a reality.
“Although the SNP expect Brexit to galvanise the independence movement, it also makes independence a more challenging prospect in practice.
“Unanimous EU agreement for Scottish re-accession to the bloc as an independent nation cannot be taken for granted.
“And if Scotland did rejoin the EU, doing so after Brexit would make the Anglo-Scottish border the EU’s external border – with major implications for the deep economic ties that exist within these islands.”