Photographer: Joe Daniel Price/Getty Images

Scottish Voters Pushed Toward Independence by U.K. Brexit Plan

  • Poll shows first real shift in support for breaking from U.K.
  • Scottish Parliament voted against triggering Article 50

More people in Scotland are embracing independence after the U.K. published its plan to leave the European Union and its single market with or without a new deal, according to the latest opinion poll.

The survey by BMG for the Herald newspaper found the gap had narrowed to 51 percent in favor of remaining in the U.K. versus 49 percent supporting going it alone, based on those who knew how they would vote. Until now, most polls found the split was roughly in line with the result of a 2014 referendum, at 55 percent to 45 percent.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said another independence vote is highly likely after Scotland voted to remain in the EU in last year’s Brexit referendum. She has been building the argument that democracy can only be served and Scotland’s voice heard if it’s outside the U.K. Her semi-autonomous government in Edinburgh is pushing to stay in the single market, rather than retain full EU membership, as a “compromise” with U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May.

The protest against Brexit went to the next level this week with lawmakers in the Scottish Parliament overwhelmingly voting against triggering the mechanism to leave the EU. While it has no power to stop the process, it was a gesture of defiance that nationalists hope can sway more doubters to back independence. Most Scots don’t want another referendum before the U.K. leaves the EU, the BMG survey found.

The Scottish government’s motion, backed by 90 lawmakers to 34, described May’s Brexit approach as “catastrophic.” In the vote in the U.K. Parliament last week, only one of the 59 members representing Scotland backed the plan to invoke Article 50 to quit the EU.

BMG Research interviewed 1,067 adults living in Scotland between Jan. 26 and Jan. 31, the Herald said.

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