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A new poll shows Scotland would vote for independence just weeks after Boris Johnson became prime minister

Adam Payne , Business Insider US
 Aug 05, 2019, 10:51 AM

  • Scotland would vote to become an independent country, according to a shock new poll.
  • 46% of Scots would vote to leave the UK, while 43% would vote to stay, a Lord Ashcroft poll has found.
  • It is the first time that independence has led a poll since March 2017.
  • The poll comes just days after Boris Johnson visited Scotland in an attempt to shore up the union.
  • Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the findings were "phenomenal."
  • The poll also found that a greater number of Scots would vote to stay in the EU.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.


A majority of Scots want independence from the rest of the United Kingdom, according to a poll published just days after Prime Minister Boris Johnson visited Scotland as part of efforts to shore up the union.

A Lord Ashcroft poll for Scottish publication Holyrood published on Monday said that 46% of Scots would vote for independence in a new referendum, while 43% would vote to stay as part of the UK.

Support for independence grew to a four-point lead - 52% to 48% - when people who said they didn't know how they'd vote, or would not vote in a new referendum, were excluded from the findings.

Read more: Watch Boris Johnson get booed as he arrives in Scotland to meet Nicola Sturgeon

It is the first time that support for independence has led an opinion poll since March 2017 and the biggest lead for the independence movement since a series of polls published in the wake of the EU referendum in March 2o16.

The poll also comes just days after Johnson visited Scotland in an attempt to improve relations between his Conservative government in Westminster and people north of the border.

Polling has shown that the new prime minister is more unpopular in Scotland than anywhere else in the UK, and would struggle to form a majority government unless he becomes more popular there.

Last week, he was booed when he arrived in Edinborough to meet Scotland's First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon.

Nearly half of Scots believe that a no-deal Brexit, for which Johnson is preparing the country, would be disastrous for Scotland, according to the Lord Ashcroft poll.

If there was to be a new referendum on leaving the European Union, 67% of Scots would vote to Remain, the poll found. This would be a five point increase on the 2016 referendum, when 62% voted to stay in the EU.

Scottish First Minister Sturgeon - who leads the Scottish National Party - said it was "a phenomenal poll for the independence movement" and that "the case for independence grows stronger by the day".

Boris Johnson

She said: "A broken Westminster system means Scotland is being dragged towards a No Deal Brexit, regardless of the heavy price we'll pay for lost jobs and lower living standards.

"That project is being led by Boris Johnson - a Prime Minister Scotland didn't elect and who has no mandate to tear Scotland out of Europe with all the damage that will entail.

"The Scottish Government, by contrast, has a very clear mandate from the people of Scotland - to give them the choice of a better future with independence.

"It would be a democratic outrage for any Tory government to deny that, and this poll shows such an anti-democratic position is completely unsustainable."

Business Insider revealed earlier this summer that when Johnson was the editor of The Spectator magazine, he published a poem joking about the "extermination" of the "verminous" Scottish people.

Johnson also wrote a column suggesting that Scottish people should be prevented from becoming prime minister.

Nevertheless, there was some encouraging news for Johnson in Lord Ashcroft's findings. When asked who would make the best prime minister, 29% of Scots said Johnson, while 23% said Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn.

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