Scotland will have another independence referendum in the event of Britain leaving the European Union — dubbed a Brexit — and will opt to leave the UK, said former First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond.
Salmond, who was Scotland’s leader between 2007-2014, said in a televised debate that if Scotland was “dragged” out of the EU by voters, then Scots will want to sever the 309-year-old tie with Britain.
“[The second Scottish independence referendum] would have to be within the two-year period of the UK negotiating to withdraw [from the EU],” said Salmond.
“If you had the situation where Scotland, in four weeks’ time, votes Remain and the rest of the UK or England drags Scotland out by voting to leave, then that would justify, in my opinion, another referendum.
“In the circumstances of Scotland being threatened with being dragged out of the EU against our will, I think the result would be ‘Yes’ this time.”
Scots voted for their country to stay part of the UK on September 19, 2014 — but the vote was tight. Pro-unionists won by a much closer vote than expected — just over 55% voted “No” when asked “Scotland should be an independent country?” while the 44% opted to leave.
A poll published earlier this month showed that Britons are more worried about the prospect of Scotland gaining independence than of the UK leaving the EU.
A BMG poll for Scotland’s Herald newspaper, which canvassed 1,512 people across the UK between April 21 and 26, found that 68% of voters cited Scottish secession from the UK as their least preferred option when compared to Britain leaving the EU, which got 32% backing.
The latest poll numbers for the EU referendum this week show the race for a Brexit and those opting to remain in the union are neck-and-neck:
- YouGov online poll, Remain 41 / Leave 41
- ICM online poll: Remain 45 / Leave 45
Meanwhile, a Survation opinion poll conducted on behalf of financial trading group IG shows that 54% of respondents plan to vote for Britain to stay in the EU, compared to 46% who said they will back a Brexit, excluding undecided voters.
“A UK exit from the EU would reverse the trend towards greater global trade and investment, and the jobs they create, and is a further serious risk to growth,” said G7 leaders said, in the only reference to the vote in a 32-page declaration.
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