Hard Brexit? That's What We Want, Say Scots Voters

Daily Mail (London), March 30, 2017 | Go to article overview

Hard Brexit? That's What We Want, Say Scots Voters


Byline: Michael Blackley Scottish Political Editor

NICOLA Sturgeon's case for tearing Scotland out of the UK has been demolished by a new report which reveals most Scots are in favour of the key elements of a 'hard Brexit'.

A detailed survey of Scots reveals that a majority back tighter controls on EU immigration and cuts to benefits for migrants - and have similar views about the issue to the rest of the UK.

It also shows that the vast majority do not want a separate deal for Scotland - which has been the First Minister's key demand in the wake of the Brexit vote.

And it concludes more Scots back Theresa May's Brexit stance than Miss Sturgeon's.

The findings sink the SNP's entire case for Indyref 2, which Miss Sturgeon has said is needed to help ensure Scotland is not 'driven off a hard Brexit cliff edge'.

The report by the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) found that: ? 64 per cent of Scots say EU migrants should now be treated the same as people coming to the UK from outside the EU - more than the UK-wide figure.

65 per cent of Scots want to reintroduce customs checks on people and goods coming to the UK from the EU.

62 per cent of Scots think immigration and trade rules should be the same in Scotland as the rest of the UK.

There is little difference between the views of Scots and those in the rest of the UK about the key aspects of 'hard Brexit'.

The survey, based on interviews with 859 Scots between February 5 and March 2, concludes that any attempt to persuade people to vote for independence in a second referendum on the basis of the Brexit deal is 'unlikely to prove particularly persuasive'. Report author Professor John Curtice, senior research fellow at NatCen, said: 'Much of the debate about Brexit in Scotland has assumed that voters north of the Border want a much softer Brexit than do voters in the rest of the UK. Indeed, the Scottish Government's demand for a second independence referendum rests on such an assumption.

'However, this first systematic study of attitudes towards Brexit in Scotland shows that for the most part voters on both sides of the Border want much the same outcome - free trade, immigration control and retention of much of the consumer and environmental regulation currently afforded by the EU.

'This means that on immigration, in particular, voters in Scotland seem to be more in tune with the stance taken by the UK Government than that adopted by the Scottish Government.' While 52 per cent of people across the UK voted Leave in last year's EU referendum, support for Remain in Scotland was 62 per cent. When Miss Sturgeon published her Brexit paper, Scotland's Place in Europe, she outlined three options: that the UK retains European single market membership, that Scotland retains membership when the UK leaves, or that there is an independence referendum. …

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