Alistair Carmichael, the Scottish secretary, speaking to the Financial Times days before the Scottish government releases its vision for an independent Scotland, warned Holyrood not to assume it will be let back into the currency if the country becomes independent.
Asked if he shared the view that an independent Scotland would be excluded from sterling, Mr Carmichael said: “Yes.”
While chancellor Mr Osborne has said that it would be “highly unlikely” that Scotland could continue using sterling, he has refused to rule it out, insisting that he would not “prenegotiate” the terms of the country’s exit from the union.
The Scotland secretary’s words are part of a concerted campaign across the union to rebut suggestions that a separate Scotland could simply continue to use sterling. Carwyn Jones, the Welsh first minister, said on Wednesday that his Labour-led government should also be given a veto on the idea.
The message comes as the SNP-led government prepares to unveil its blueprint for the make-up of an independent Scotland. The Scottish government is likely to recommend staying within sterling, which would also allow it to share the benefits of the Bank of England as a lender of last resort.
SNP leaders insist that sterling is an “asset” part-owned by Scotland.
Alex Salmond, SNP first minister, tried to ward off the threat of exclusion last week by saying that if that happened, Scotland would not be obliged to take on its share of the UK national debt.