More than half of Scots think partygate saga has hurt case for Union – poll

·3-min read
More than half of Scots think the partygate allegations have damaged the case for the Union (Yui Mok/PA) (PA Archive)
More than half of Scots think the partygate allegations have damaged the case for the Union (Yui Mok/PA) (PA Archive)

More than half of people in Scotland think the Downing Street “partygate” saga has hurt the case for the Union, according to a new poll.

The research, carried out for The Scotsman, also found almost four in five (78%) respondents think Prime Minister Boris Johnson should resign over the allegations of coronavirus rule-breaking parties.

The survey of 1,004 Scots asked to what extent the alleged parties in Downing Street have hurt the case for the Union, with 54% saying they have hurt it either a lot or a little.

More than a third (35%) said the claims have either not really hurt it or not hurt it at all, while 11% said they did not know.

The survey was carried out between January 14 and 18, after allegations emerged on January 13 that a party took place at Downing Street on the eve of the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral.

However support for Scottish independence remains split down the middle despite the partygate allegations.

Asked how they would vote if a referendum on Scottish independence was held tomorrow, 50% said they would vote Yes – two points higher than in October – and 50% said they would back No.

When “don’t knows” are included, support for both Yes and No is at 46% with 8% undecided.

The poll was carried out by Savanta ComRes for The Scotsman and questioned people aged 16 and over.

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross called on Mr Johnson to resign after he admitted attending a drinks party in Downing Street during lockdown.

Almost eight in 10 (79%) respondents said Mr Ross made the right decision in calling for the Prime Minister to go.

While the UK Government is in disarray... it’s perhaps surprising that support for Scotland to go it alone, away from the disingenuous nature of Westminster politics, isn’t higher

Chris Hopkins, Savanta ComRes

Chris Hopkins, political research director at Savanta ComRes, said: “A 50/50 split on the independence voting intention does represent a bit of shift towards Yes since our last poll in October, but ultimately, given the disaster the UK Government in Westminster is currently experiencing, one would perhaps expect support for independence to be higher.

“Indeed, many swing independence voters will likely weigh up in their minds the competence of both the Scottish and UK governments at any given moment to help decide how they’d vote at a future referendum, and, while the UK Government is in disarray, with four in five saying the PM should resign over partygate, it’s perhaps surprising that support for Scotland to go it alone, away from the disingenuous nature of Westminster politics, isn’t higher.”

The SNP’s Westminster deputy leader Kirsten Oswald said: “The boozy lockdown Downing Street parties is just the latest scandal to grip Westminster. Boris Johnson’s position as Prime Minister is untenable – the public know it, his MPs know it, and he knows it.

“The reality is that getting rid of Boris Johnson alone won’t fix the problem. Corruption and scandals are part of a wider culture of Westminster entitlement and contempt for the rules.

“This new poll – highlighting the scale of public opposition to the corrupt Tory Government and movement in favour of independence – is another reminder that only with independence will we be able to escape the broken and corrupt Westminster system.

“People are rightly furious that while we were expected to follow the rules, Downing Street was openly and repeatedly flouting them.”

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