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Referendum on Irish border supported by 52% in GB poll

A referendum on Irish unity and a second on Scottish independence have widespread support among voters in Great Britain, a new poll suggests
A referendum on Irish unity and a second on Scottish independence have widespread support among voters in Great Britain, a new poll suggests

By Lucinda Cameron

A referendum on Irish unity and a second on Scottish independence have widespread support among voters in Great Britain, a new poll suggests.

A BMG survey for The Independent found that on the Northern Ireland border issue, more than half of those polled in England, Scotland and Wales 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.

And 45% of those quizzed 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.

Former NI Secretary Lord Hain said the results confirmed his concern Brexit could hasten the break-up of the UK. "Brexit, especially a hard Brexit, is a green light to Scottish nationalists to push for a referendum, and similarly for Irish republicans.

"I've always been fearful that Brexit would make the break-up of the UK more likely, and this poll confirms it. We've already seen in other surveys that Tory Leave voters want Brexit even if it means Scotland and Northern Ireland leaving the UK," he said.

DUP East Belfast MP Gavin Robinson said: "Northern Ireland's future is best served inside the United Kingdom for economic, social, cultural and historic reasons. The criteria for holding a border poll are clearly outlined and have not been met. However, the focus should not be on holding a divisive border poll and creating further community tension in Northern Ireland.

"We want to see the Northern Ireland Assembly and devolved institutions restored so that decisions can be taken on schools, hospitals and the other vital public services which everyone relies on."

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."

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