Scottish voters would back independence from the UK by a small majority, a new poll suggests, in the first poll lead for independence for two years.
The poll, conducted by Lord Ashcroft, shows a small majority also want another referendum on the issue within the next two years, which would open up the possibility of the UK breaking up shortly after it leaves the European Union.
The result of the question on whether Scots would vote for independence mirrored the results of the Brexit referendum, with 52% of respondents saying they would vote yes, and 48% saying no.
Of those who voted to remain in the EU referendum of 2016, 59% said they would back Scottish independence. And from those who voted leave in the EU referendum, 68% said Scotland should remain part of the UK.
A Scottish independence referendum was held in 2014, with the no vote (those opting against independence), winning with 55% of the vote. However, since the vote to take the UK out of the EU, threats of another Scottish independence referendum have returned.
Politicians advocating for a fresh referendum point to the fact that Scotland voted overwhelmingly to stay in the EU.
The survey questioned 1,019 Scottish adults between 30 July and 2 August this year.
It comes in the wake of new Conservative prime minister Boris Johnson’s visit to Scotland, where he was booed when arriving for a meeting with Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
In response to the poll, the Scottish National Party leader said: “Attempts by the Tories to block Scotland’s right to choose our own future are undemocratic and unsustainable.”
The current UK government has stuck by its claims that the UK will leave the EU on 31 October, with or without a deal.
With the prospect of a new withdrawal agreement between the UK and EU by that date looking highly unrealistic, the threat of a potentially calamitous no-deal Brexit is looming.
And with a no-deal Brexit, the issue of the Irish border remains unresolved. Irish nationalists have demanded moves towards Irish unification in response to Boris Johnson’s threat of a no-deal Brexit.