U.S. Markets

An independent Scotland could abandon sterling union: Salmond tells FT

FILE PHOTO: Scotland's former First Minister, Alex Salmond, speaks at the party's spring conference in Glasgow, Scotland March 29, 2015. REUTERS/Russell Cheyne

LONDON (Reuters) - Scotland could abandon a currency union with the rest of the United Kingdom if it gained independence, former Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond told the Financial Times.

Nationalist Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon this week demanded a new independence referendum in late 2018 or early 2019, but UK Prime Minister Theresa May said on Thursday that “now is not the time” for such a vote.

Salmond, who resigned as Scottish leader after losing a 2014 independence referendum, said he was open to changing his view that the best option after independence was a currency union between Scotland and the remainder of the UK, the FT said on Friday.

He ruled out joining the euro, but suggested that Scotland could introduce a new currency, either freely floated or pegged to the pound. Another option, he said, was to use sterling without any say in monetary policy while the new currency was introduced.

Salmond said that Scotland would seek to remain in the European single market after a potential referendum in 2019, though it would have to leave the EU as part of the Brexit process.

Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; editing by Michael Holden