THE chaos of the lengthy Brexit process would not need to be repeated if Scotland left the UK, according to a new academic study.

Dr Benjamin Martill, lecturer in politics and international relations at Edinburgh University, has outlined a series of “lessons” from how the UK left the EU, which he said both sides of the independence debate can heed.Opponents of independence have often pointed to Brexit as an example of the disruption caused by leaving a union.

Writing in the journal British Politics, Martill said it was not clear that the analogy works as an argument against Scottish independence.

The paper concludes: “The lessons of Brexit are there for us to see, but they do not need to be repeated.

“Indeed, both sides on the constitutional question would benefit from heeding them.”

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Martill told the Sunday National: “In many ways, the Scottish Government has been better, as it has been a centrally-led process of trying to spell out what independence would look like.

“David Cameron famously didn’t do that for Brexit – I think he didn’t want time spent on an outcome he didn’t think would come about.

“So the Scottish Government is certainly better in that regard.

“The role here of Nicola Sturgeon as well is really pivotal, as she is one of the people who will be able to set expectations in the event of a successful vote.

“Whereas with Brexit, the individual who made all the promises and was the architect of the referendum was gone within a few days of the result coming about – and that created that power vacuum.”

The National:

Martill (above) said in the case of Brexit, ideas of staying in the single market or getting a Norway-style deal had been replaced with Conservative MPs saying there was no deal which would work.

He said it was crucial that what independence would look like for Scotland was spelled out before a vote – but in a way that also acknowledges it could change.

“The difficulties here are clearly politically a broad church is required for independence – or for the Union, the continuation of the status quo,” he said.

“You need to convince a lot of different political actors that they will all get what they want.

“So, in a way, the message is always going to be fairly broad; it will need to convince those who are on different sides of the political spectrum that they can all get behind this notion.

“But it is also the problem that lots of the things that are being put into this mandate are asks – they are not outcomes that are on the table and would require negotiation, both with Brussels and Westminster, to get those outcomes in order to avoid a sort of no-deal situation.

“So it is really important to be clear about what independence is supposed to look like, but also that is probably going to change and it depends on other actors.”

Martill said examples from Brexit could be used to learn how to prepare for the challenges of leaving the UK – such as the role of Parliament and the use of “red lines” in negotiations.

He said: “When we think about what independence would look like – we always look to the cases of substate nationalism, Catalonia, Quebec, and of course those are cases where we haven’t seen secession negotiated and achieved.

“If we are talking about what it would look like, we need to switch our lens, and that is why I landed on the overlap with the Brexit negotiations.”

He added: “The time to be having the conversation is now – even if it is a forward-looking one. This has been a forward-looking conversation the whole time, thinking about what an independent Scotland would look like.

“So, in a sense, all I am doing is focusing on the process and the bargaining dynamics, rather than the outcomes, because they are important for what the outcomes would be.

“I think this is one of the tragedies of the Brexit process in a way – we didn’t try to anticipate some of these dynamics beforehand, and they turned out to be really crucial in how the negotiations played out.”

Martill said one major lesson would be to try to find ways of including other people into the process to decide what independence looks like – even Unionists and the political opposition.

He added: “This is why Britain bargained so poorly, because Theresa May was going to Brussels with a very clear pro-Leave stance when half the country turns round and says ‘absolutely not, we don’t want that’.

“Maybe it dilutes independence, maybe it doesn’t – but it produces a more legitimate outcome and it helps bargaining.”