Salmond's Drive to Break Up the UK 'Could Take the Great out of Great Britain'

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Byline: Michael Blackley SCOTTISH POLITICAL EDITOR

THE name Great Britain could be consigned to history if Alex Salmond succeeds with his bid to end the 300-year-old Union.

Legal experts say the formal name of The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland could have to be changed if Scotland became independent.

That raises the prospect of the name no longer containing the term Great Britain, as the whole island would no longer be part of the United Kingdom.

It would be a hugely symbolic change, as some would see it as effectively meaning the UK would be forced to lose the word 'Great' from its title.

The formal name, which appears on British passports, could have to be cut to only The United Kingdom, or the longer alternative of The United Kingdom of England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The last time the country's name was changed was in 1927, when the Parliamentary Titles Act was amended to recognise Ireland's exit from the UK.

Independence for Scotland would force the Act to be rewritten to recognise the radical change to the country's make-up.

Michael Clancy, director of law reform at the Law Society of Scotland, said: 'The Royal and Parliamentary Titles Act 1927 established the name The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and, if Scotland were to become independent, it would be a matter for the UK Parliament to consider whether it wished to amend the Act.' The 1927 Act changed the 'Royal style and titles', as well as the 'style of parliament', to reflect that Ireland was no longer part of the UK.

It stated: 'Parliament shall hereafter be known as and styled the parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland; and accordingly, the present parliament shall be known as the 34th parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, instead of the 34th parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

'In every Act passed and public document issued after the passing of this Act the expression "United Kingdom" shall, unless the context otherwise requires, mean Great Britain and Northern Ireland.' Separation for Scotland would also mean that, instead of the Union flag, the official Scottish emblem would be the Saltire. …