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  1. ITV Report

UK could do a 'reverse Greenland' to allow Scotland to remain in the EU

The UK could do a 'reverse Greenland' allowing Scotland to remain a member of the EU Credit: Reuters

Nicola Sturgeon has hailed a new 'reverse Greenland' proposal which could potentially allow England and Wales to withdraw from the EU and allow Scotland to remain a member.

Denmark-based academic Ulrik Pram Gad has suggested that the UK could look at Greenland's exit from the EU while the rest of the Kingdom of Denmark remained.

England and Wales, which voted to leave, could seek territorial exemption from the continuing UK member state, allowing Scotland, Northern Ireland and Gibraltar - all of whom voted to stay - to remain in the European bloc.

Mr Gad made this suggestion in an article for the London School of Economics, which Ms Sturgeon tweeted a link to, saying: "Interesting piece by a Denmark based academic - Could a 'reverse Greenland' arrangement keep Scotland in the EU?"

Mr Gad said in his article that this arrangement "might solve" the issue for the three regions which want to stay, but still leaves the problem of England and Wales' relationship with the EU and the single market.

The Brexit referendum results in England and Wales contrasted sharply with those in Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Gibraltar.

Taking these differences into account - and combining them with prospects of Scottish independence, renewed troubles in Northern Ireland, and potentially severe isolation in Gibraltar - the UK could refrain from activating Article 50.

Instead, negotiations could aim at a territorial exemption of England and Wales from UK membership.

The UK would still be a member state - voting rights reasonably reduced to match the population of Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Greenland's experience illustrates that it can be necessary to play games with a state's formal sovereignty in order to uphold it. Copenhagen seems to have learned that lesson - now the question is whether London will too.

– Ulrik Pram Gad