Union faces ‘clear and present danger’ from Brexit

Brexit poses an existenial threat to the United Kingdom according to new think tank polling

Brexit poses an existenial threat to the United Kingdom according to new think tank polling Photo: PA / Andrew Milligan - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

The United Kingdom could split after Brexit, an MEP has warned.

New polling by think tank Best for Britain found there would be a majority for independence in Scotland following Brexit but that result would be reversed if the UK remained in the European Union.

Meanwhile, 52% of voters in Northern Ireland said they would vote for a united Ireland outside of the UK after Britain leaves the EU, with 39% favouring the province staying part of the UK while 7% did not know and the remainder said they would not vote.

Labour MEP Catherine Stihler warned: 'There is a clear and present danger to the future of the United Kingdom.'

When asked how they would vote if a referendum on Scotland's future was held after the UK leaves the EU, 47% said they would support independence, with 43% saying they would opt to stay part of the Union.

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But if the UK stayed part of the EU, those figures would be overturned, with 43% saying they would vote for independence while 47% said they would back remaining part of Britain.

Stihler, Labour MEP for Scotland, said: '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.'

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She went on: 'Leaving the EU will be calamitous for Scotland's economy, and there is no such thing as a good Brexit. Leaving the UK would be even more catastrophic, leading to deep austerity and public service cuts that would hurt the poorest the hardest.

'The majority of Scots believe in solidarity across the UK and across Europe, which is why the Tories must stop putting the Union at risk and give voters a say on the final Brexit deal.'

Phillip Lee, Conservative MP for Bracknell, added: 'Brexiteers have to be given a chance to recant now it's becoming so obvious what's at risk.

'No government, especially a Conservative one, can legitimately pursue this course which will likely lead – perhaps not tomorrow or next year or over the next decade but nonetheless inexorably – to breaking our home Union.'

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