Brexit putting the union at risk, new poll reveals

Almost half of Scottish voters want independence if the UK leaves the EU next year

Adam Forrest
Monday 03 September 2018 15:19
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Chuka Umunna and John Rentoul debate the possibility of another Brexit referendum

Brexit is damaging support for the British union in both Scotland and Northern Ireland, a new poll has revealed.

Almost half of Scottish voters - 47 percent - said they would now vote for independence if the UK leaves the European Union. Only 43 percent said they would vote for Scotland to remain part of Britain after Brexit.

The latest Deltapoll findings also showed that Brexit is also harming support for the union in Northern Ireland.

A majority of voters in the country- 52 percent - would back a united Ireland outside of the UK if Brexit goes ahead. Only 39 percent would vote to remain part of UK.

The same survey, commissioned by the Best for Britain and Our Future Our Choice campaign groups, pointed to even stronger opposition to the creation of a so-called “hard border” across Ireland after Brexit.

It found 56 percent of people in Northern Ireland would be willing to vote for a united Ireland if the UK left the EU and a hard border were set up.

The Independent’s own Final Say campaign demands voters are given a new referendum on Theresa May’s exit terms before the UK officially leaves the bloc in March 2019.

Tory MP Phillip Lee, a supporter of a second referendum, said the latest poll results showed Brexit was “project risk”.

The former justice minister said: “We know we risk losing jobs, it’s already started. We know we risk losing influence, as we become a taker rather than a maker of rules. Now we also risk losing our union. The only legitimate course now is to suspend or revoke Article 50 and call a second referendum offering people a choice between the leave the Brexiteers want and remaining in the EU on a new deal.”

Support for Brexit is weak north of the border - 62 percent of Scots voted remain at the 2016 Brexit vote.

The new poll shows only 31 percent of Scots say it would be right to leave the EU even if the public mood is shown to have shifted since the 2016 vote. A far higher proportion of Scots - 48 percent - said it would be wrong to leave the EU if the will of the people had changed.

Northern Ireland voted to remain in the EU by a majority of 56 percent to 44 percent in 2016.

Best for Britain chief Eloise Todd said the latest poll was “compelling evidence as to why we need to stop and think again”.

Ms Todd said: “When people voted in 2016, they didn’t vote to break up the union and risk both Scotland and Northern Ireland voting for a different future outside the United Kingdom. The public deserve a say on the final deal, with the knowledge that if Brexit happens we could shatter the union altogether.”

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