Poll finds support for referendums that could break up union
A vote on the futures of both Northern Ireland and Scotland won backing.
A second referendum on Scottish independence and one on the Northern Irish border issue have widespread support among voters on the UK mainland, a new poll suggests.
A BMG survey for The Independent found that 45% of people in England, Scotland and Wales believe the Government should allow a second referendum on the issue of Scottish independence, while 30% were against the idea.
When “don’t knows” are removed the split is 60% in support of a referendum and 40% against, according to the poll of 1,504 people.
On the issue of the Northern Ireland border, more than half of those polled support the idea of a vote after Brexit to let the country decide whether to stay in the UK or join Ireland.
The poll found that 52% supported a border referendum while 19% were against it.
When the “don’t knows” are removed the split is 73% in support of the idea and 27% against.
SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford welcomed the results of the poll for Scotland.
He said: “This is a significant poll for the independence movement — showing a majority of people across the UK, not just Scotland, believe that Scotland should have the choice to decide its own future.
“From this poll it’s clear that it should be up to the people and Parliament of Scotland to decide whether there should be another independence referendum – not a detached and broken Westminster system.
“It would be unacceptable for any government in Westminster to block Scotland’s democratic right to choose.”
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has already said she wants to have another vote on leaving the UK in the second half of 2020.
With the Scottish Government having already brought forward legislation that could pave the way for such a vote, the First Minister confirmed she will “seek agreement to the transfer of power that will put the referendum beyond legal challenge”.
While Prime Minister Boris Johnson has stated his opposition to a second vote on Scotland leaving the UK, the SNP leader said it “now seems inevitable that there will be an early UK general election”.
The Prime Minister has previously said he does not want a hard border in Northern Ireland.
BMG questioned 1,504 adults in England, Scotland and Wales between September 3 and 6.
Meanwhile Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie has said there should not be a second independence referendum even if the SNP and Greens win a majority at Holyrood.
He told the Herald On Sunday: “We will still stand very firmly against another independence referendum, and we would vote against it at every single opportunity. We were promised it was a ‘once in a generation’ thing.”
Asked whether it would be legitimate for the UK Government to reject a second referendum if the SNP and Greens were to win a majority at Holyrood he said: “Yes, and we would argue very strongly for that at Westminster. Big bang constitutional change is chaotic, damages the economy, and divides the country.”
SNP MSP Rona Mackay told the newspaper that the case for Scottish self-government has “only been strengthened by the events of the last few years”.
She added: “No wonder polls show people moving towards independence and support for an early referendum – and no wonder the unionist parties are so rattled.”