Scots should decide own future relationship with EU, fresh polling finds

Bagpipe players attend an anti-Conservative government, pro-Scottish independence, and anti-Brexit d

Bagpipe players attend an anti-Conservative government, pro-Scottish independence, and anti-Brexit demonstration outside Holyrood - Credit: Photo by Andy BUCHANAN / AFP

Nearly three-quarters of Scots back Holyrood negotiating its own future relationship with the EU, new polling has found.

A Survation poll for the pro-independence campaign group Progress Scotland found 74% of the 2,093 people surveyed wanted MSPs to decide how Scotland interacts with the EU in the future when undecided returns were excluded. When included, that figure still remains high at 54%, showing 12% undecided.

Downing Street is currently locked in talks with the EU on how the future relationship will work, with both parties suggesting the end of this month is the last possible opportunity for a deal to be struck.

The Brexit transition period is due to end on December 31.

While claiming he will “explore every avenue” to secure a deal, prime minister Boris Johnson told French President Emmanuel Macron in a phone call on Saturday the UK is prepared to leave with an “Australian-style” deal.

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Angus Robertson, who set up Progress Scotland and is currently fighting a selection contest for the Edinburgh Central constituency at next year’s Holyrood election, said: “Public opinion is overwhelmingly in favour of Scotland deciding its own relationship with the European Union.

“The fact that nearly three-quarters back the Scottish Parliament and government making future decisions is a big warning to Westminster, which is ploughing on with Brexit which was opposed by 62% of voters in Scotland.

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“As we already know from previous polls, Brexit has had a huge impact on many people moving from opposition to now supporting independence as a way of protecting Scotland’s place in Europe.”

The same poll – which covered a wide range of issues relating to Scotland including independence and Brexit – also suggested 75% of people would vote to leave the UK if they thought it would improve the Scottish economy.

Robertson pushed independence campaigners to make the economic case for separation.

He said: “The fact that 75% would vote for independence if they were convinced that it would be good for the Scottish economy is remarkable and should encourage the pro-independence side in making the economic case to help grow support ahead of the next independence referendum.

“Earlier parts of the poll have already been released which reflect how much opinion is changing in Scotland and impacting on views towards Scottish independence.”

Findings from the same poll, published in the past week, also found more than a third of people who voted against independence in 2014 have changed their mind or are now undecided.

It continues a trend that began earlier this year of a majority of decided voters supporting independence, at 53%.

Some 64% of respondents with an opinion felt Scotland would vote to leave the union if there was another referendum.

A UK government spokesman said: “With fewer than three months until the end of the transition period, we will continue to work constructively with the devolved administrations to ensure the whole of the United Kingdom is ready for the changes and opportunities ahead.”

SNP depute leader Keith Brown said: “This poll confirms that we are winning the economic argument over Scotland’s future.

“More and more, people across Scotland believe that independence will not only give us a stronger voice in the world, but will also benefit our economy.”

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