Scotland’s Orkney Islands may seek independence from the UK thanks to Brexit

Kate Solomon
Islanders are set to have a say in the matter [Photofusion/REX/Shutterstock]
Islanders are set to have a say in the matter [Photofusion/REX/Shutterstock]

Scotland’s Orkney Islands may seek independence from both Great Britain and Scotland in the wake of the Brexit result.

Although the tiny islands off the north-eastern coast of Scotland have traditionally voted against independence – both from the UK in the Scottish Independence referendum and from the EU in the Brexit vote – more than half of its councillors have now backed a motion to investigate “greater autonomy or self-determination”.

Thirteen of Orkney Islands Council’s 21 members voted in favour of a motion that demands its chief executive commission a report “to decide if more autonomy might be beneficial for the wellbeing of Orkney”.

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Islanders may be less keen, however. A 2013 poll showed that only 8% were in favour of separating from Scotland if the country voted for independence from the UK.

One element of the report may include an opinion poll.

Graham Sinclair, the independent councillor who drafted the motion, told the Telegraph, “I think the islands are more significantly different – both historically and culturally – from the rest of the country.

“It is a very preliminary shot. It is to consider whether there is the possibility of constitutional changes.

“I don’t have any preconceptions about where it might lead. My motion was accepted without anyone speaking against it and we are a council of independent councillors.”

The Orkney Islands are relative newcomers to Scotland, having been part of Norway until 1472.