LONDON: A wide majority of Scots reject independence, a new poll shows, days after Scottish nationalists caught British Prime Minister Theresa May off guard by revealing plans for a second independence referendum.
According to new figures published by The Times, 57 percent of Scottish voters reject independence.
The poll comes days after Scottish nationalists revealed they would next week seek authorization for a second referendum on leaving the United Kingdom.
The announcement disrupted what was supposed to be a big win for the government after parliament finally granted it the right to trigger Article 50 of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty, which would start the two-year divorce with the bloc.
The Scottish National Party (SNP) government in Edinburgh is hoping that with independence, Scotland could maintain its close ties with the EU.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said her concerns about May’s plan to pull Britain out of Europe’s single market, in order to cut immigration, had been met with a “brick wall of intransigence.”
May immediately condemned the plan, less than three years after Scots voted by 55 percent to reject independence, saying it would be “divisive.”
“This is not a moment to play politics or create uncertainty,” she repeated on Tuesday, saying it was time to “bring our country together.”
The European Commission was also quick to warn that an independent Scotland would have to reapply as a new nation.
However, Angus Robertson, the SNP’s most senior figure in Westminster, told The Guardian in an exclusive interview to be published on Wednesday that a referendum could be avoided if Scotland was allowed to stay in the EU single market.
He explained that where the SNP’s efforts are “currently focused is trying to convince the UK government to come to a compromise agreement protecting Scotland’s place in Europe.”