Scotland split down middle on independence question

The Scottish First Minister has said she is not and never has been "bluffing" about forcing voters to return to the polls on the issue which was ruled a "once in a generation" vote in 2014.

She added: "I'm not ruling anything out".

Speaking on the findings, Ipsos Mori Scotland director Mark Diffley, said: "In the immediate aftermath of the EU Referendum vote last June there was an increase in support for independence, which ebbed away later in the year".

Ever since the Brexit referendum, Scotland has been looking for a way to stay in the European Union - either by leaving the United Kingdom or derailing Brexit altogether.

Meanwhile, among those who are certain to vote in May's Scottish council elections, 46% said they would back the SNP, with the Conservatives coming in second place with 19% support, ahead of Labour on 17%, the Greens on 8% and the Liberal Democrats on 6%.

Sturgeon's narrative to win support for independence is that the "democratic deficit" means Scotland's interests are being ignored and the government in Edinburgh undermined.

"This is yet another attempt by Nicola Sturgeon to sow division and uncertainty, at a time when the country needs to pull together more than ever".

The poll also found nearly half of Scots (48 percent) wanted to stay part of the European Union, while 27 percent wanted a Norway-like agreement with the block to maintain access to the single market but not full membership.

She told the SNP when she launched that manifesto in April 2016 "setting the date for a referendum before a majority of the Scottish people have been persuaded that independence [is] the best future for our country is the wrong way round".

The Scottish First Minister's opposition to Brexit was exacerbated following May's January announcement during which she indicated her government would not be seeking any partial European Union membership including access to the EU's common tariff-free market.

Prime Minister Theresa May has so far declined to be drawn on whether her government would allow a second referendum.

The SNP leader has also described a referendum in autumn 2018 as being in a "common sense" time period during the negotiations between London and Brussels. I suggested that Sturgeon's sense of urgency might be explained by opinion polls showing her "tanking" approval rating.

But while in principle the Westminster position is that the last independence referendum, in 2014, settled the matter for a generation, in practice, May would be unlikely to refuse.

  • Lila Blake