Support For Scottish Independence Has More Than Doubled In 10 Years

And for the first time, fewer than half of people in Northern Ireland back staying in the UK.
Thousands of Scottish independence supporters march through Glasgow during an All Under One Banner march in 2020.
Thousands of Scottish independence supporters march through Glasgow during an All Under One Banner march in 2020.
NurPhoto via Getty Images

Support for Scottish independence has more than doubled in the past 10 years, according to a major new study.

The latest British Social Attitudes survey found that 52 per cent of Scots now want to leave the United Kingdom, compared to just 23 per cent in 2012.

And for the first time, fewer than half - 49 per cent - of people in Northern Ireland supporting remaining in the UK.

The study, which was carried out by the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen), revealed a growing divide between Scotland, England and Northern Ireland over the future of the UK.

Voters in Scotland were asked whether they supported independence, devolution or the abolition of the Scottish parliament.

The jump in support for independence since 2012 reflects the huge changes in Scottish politics in the last decade.

The 2014 independence referendum campaign saw a significant jump in support for leaving the UK, with the pro-Union side eventually winning by 55 per cent to 45 per cent.

The Brexit vote, which came despite Scotland wanting to stay in the EU, has also boosted the independence cause.

According to the survey, 65 per cent of Remainers in Scotland now back leaving the UK, up from 44 per cent in 2016.

The SNP remains by far the most popular party north of the border, and continues to push for a second referendum - although Liz Truss has insisted she will oppose any attempt to have one.

Support in Northern Ireland for Irish reunification has increased from 14 per cent in 2015 to 30 now, the survey found.

Brexit again seems to be a factor, with only 37 per cent of people in Northern Ireland who voted Remain now in favour of being part of the UK, down from 64 per cent.

Elsewhere, the social attitudes survey also found that for the first time, more than half of Brits - 51 per cent - now support changing the voting system to proportional representation.

Sir John Curtice, senior research fellow at NatCen, said: The United Kingdom’s politics are now beset by some fundamental disagreements about the rules and the structures that should be in place, and these disagreements are reflected in divergent views between supporters of different parties and those living in different parts of the UK.

“More people than ever want to change the voting system in Westminster, support for leaving the UK has also grown in Northern Ireland, and supporters of the major parties in Scotland and England are more polarised than ever over the question of how Scotland should be governed.

“Not least of the reasons for this is Brexit, which seems to have helped fuel partisan disagreement about the country’s constitution.

“Some Remain voters appear to have reacted to being on the losing side in the EU referendum by now wanting to change the rules under which the UK is governed.”


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