Poll fuels break-up demand
Majority back independence after UK leaves EU
Polling in favour of separation is at historic highs, says SNP
A slight majority would vote for Scottish independence after the UK leaves the European Union, according to a new poll.
The survey by the stop Brexit Best for Britain campaign shows that 47% would back a UK split, with 43% supporting the union and 10% expressing no opinion. A similar percentage of voters in Northern Ireland would vote for a United Ireland.
Best for Britain is a group of campaigners, businesspeople, entrepreneurs and citizens from across the UK who came together in 2016 aiming to stop Brexit.
Stephen Gethins MP, the SNP’s Europe Spokesperson in Westminster, said: “With almost 90% of polls since the referendum showing support for an independent Scotland above 2014 levels, independence is polling at historic highs.”
Labour MEP for Scotland, Catherine Stihler, said: “This is a devastating poll which reveals there is a clear and present danger to the future of the United Kingdom.
“The Tories’ reckless gamble with the EU referendum and Theresa May’s disastrous handling of the negotiations are stretching the historic bonds that unite us.”
Best for Britain chief executive Eloise 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.
“This is compelling evidence as to why we need to stop and think again. The public deserve a say on the final deal, with the knowledge that if Brexit happens we could shatter the Union altogether.”
The poll coincides with a report due out on Monday from the academic think tank The UK In A Changing Europe saying that a no deal Brexit would generate short-term uncertainties including the disappearance, without replacement, of many of the rules underpinning the UK’s economic and regulatory structures.
The impacts would be felt significantly in agriculture, financial services, air transport, drugs and on EU citizens in the UK and British citizens living elsewhere in Europe, says its report Cost of No Deal Revisited.
Professor Anand Menon, director of The UK in a Changing Europe, said: “Make no mistake, the impact of a no deal Brexit will be severe. In the short term at least, considerable uncertainty and disruption will result.
“While it is wise to plan for no deal, and indeed attempt to mitigate against the worst aspects of a chaotic Brexit, it makes far more sense to avoid such an outcome altogether.”
Food: Trading on WTO terms could lead to a significant increase in domestic food prices. Estimates for the meat sector and food processing show increases of 7.3% and 3.7% in retail prices respectively. The UK’s shellfish sector (which is the largest of the UK’s three fishing sectors) is particularly vulnerable to a no deal outcome as it is largely dependent on live exports.
Air transport: UK airlines will lose access to EU markets in the event of no deal.
Drugs: It is unclear as to whether a six-week supply of drugs will be sufficient to mitigate against the effects of no deal.
EU citizens in the UK are likely to be (relatively) secure under a no deal scenario, given government guarantees and the fact there are laws in place. However, the status of a million or so UK nationals elsewhere in the EEA would be considerably more complex and potentially much more problematic as they would be in legal limbo and reliant on EU member states’ interpretation of the law.
May stands firm against Boris onslaught
Prime Minister Theresa May said she would not allow compromises to her Brexit strategy that went against the national interest, seeking to allay fears among some in her Conservative Party that she will cave in to Brussels’ demands in negotiations.
May is struggling to sell what she calls her business-friendly Brexit to her own party.
Former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson wrote in the Daily Telegraph that the UK has agreed to hand over £40 billion of taxpayers’ money for two thirds of diddly squat”.
Mr Johnson added that by adopting the Chequers plan, which will see the UK adopt a common rule book for food and goods, “we have gone into battle with the white flag fluttering over our leading tank”.
It will be “impossible for the UK to be more competitive, to innovate, to deviate, to initiate, and we are ruling out major free trade deals,” he added.