The prospect of an independent Scotland has received a boost after a survey showed a lead for a ‘Yes’ vote for the first time in five years.
According to a YouGov poll, 51% of the 1,039 Scots surveyed supported Scottish independence, compared to 49% who opted for the ‘No’ vote.
The narrow lead nearly echoes the 52/48 split in the EU referendum in 2016 that will see Britain leaving the EU on 31 January.
According to YouGov, the shift towards independence comes from Remainers in Scotland moving towards Yes.
— Britain Elects (@britainelects) January 30, 2020
Two thirds of Scotland voted to remain in the EU in Scotland and the Scottish National Party (SNP) won 48 seats on an anti-Brexit and pro-independence platform.
The survey shows that 21% of those who voted Remain in 2016 but No in the 2014 independence referendum have now moved over to the Yes side.
While the results may prove satisfying reading to SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon, who is pushing for another referendum as soon as possible, most Scots (56%) do not think there should be a referendum this year.
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A majority are also against a referendum next year, even if the SNP win the Scottish parliament elections in May 2021.
However, nearly half (44%) believe there should be another referendum in the next five years – putting more pressure on Boris Johnson to go back on his vow not to grant one.
Holyrood has endorsed Ms Sturgeon's calls for a second independence referendum, after first minister Ms Sturgeon insisted such a vote is “necessary".
MSPs passed a motion put forward by Ms Sturgeon calling for a referendum to be held "so that the people of Scotland can decide whether they wish it to become an independent country”.
The motion, backed by 64 votes to 54, now calls on the UK Government to "reach an agreement with the Scottish government on such a referendum taking place on a date and in a manner determined by the Scottish parliament”.
Ms Sturgeon has warned of the consequences for Scotland of both Brexit and a Boris Johnson Government, telling MSPs: "Given what the Tories have in store, proposing a further decision on independence isn't simply legitimate - it is necessary.”
She accused UK ministers of being "completely deaf to Scotland's interests, needs and voice", adding that their vision for the UK is driven by "jingoism and xenophobia”.
Independence, she argued, would give Scotland an alternative future.
The first minister added: "In my view it is beyond doubt now that the only realistic way for Scotland to return to the heart of Europe and to ensure we get the governments we vote for is to become an independent country."