Polls coming out of Scotland indicate a significant surge in pro-independence feeling, with surveys in the latter half of 2020 consistently putting a Yes vote ahead. The Scottish First Minister said late last year that she would aim to secure a vote in 2021. Nicola Sturgeon said in November: “We are seeing across the Atlantic, what happens to those who try to hold back the tide of democracy. They get swept away. “The point about whether the Westminster Government has to agree to that [a Scottish independence referendum], that’s never been tested in court. I hope it never has to be tested in court but I don’t rule anything like that out.”
But as the SNP pushes for a second referendum on Scotland’s future, a think tank head argued last month that the vote should include everyone in the UK.
Karel Lannoo was speaking during a TV discussion programme on Al Jazeera when he made the surprising claim.
The head of the Centre for European Policy Studies said: “Scots are only a minority – a big minority – in the UK which has about five million, so if there ever were to be another referendum, it would be a referendum for the whole of the UK and … the whole of the UK would have to agree with – eventually – the Scottish leaving.
“I do not see it another way.”
However, he warned much would be dependent on how successful Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal is “and how the overall economy, and how people react to this in the coming weeks and months”.
Mr Lannoo continued: “I think we could see in the medium-term or the long run some problem for the UK economy in continuing to export their services, certainly to Europe.
“This explains the anger of the Scots.”
The case for a second independence vote is currently with the Court of Session where Scottish nationalists are trying to establish whether Holyrood can legislate for a referendum unilaterally.
The aim of the SNP is to get a bill passed that gives Holyrood the power to hold a second independence referendum.
However, as public law expert Professor Aileen McHarg told Express.co.uk , there are a number of ways by which Westminster can thwart Ms Sturgeon’s plans.
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“There is a risk that the UK Government could refer a referendum bill to the Supreme Court and pass legislation to make clear Holyrood cannot call an independence referendum.
“There is no legal barrier to prevent the UK Government from attempting to do this. Whether or not it is a justifiable course of action would, of course, be a matter of dispute. I can imagine a lot of people would regard it as illegitimate.”