LONDON (Sputnik) — The consequences of the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the European Union may result in holding of the second Scottish independence referendum in less than five years, the director of the left-leaning Scottish think tank Common Weal told Sputnik.
"We do think there will be a second independence referendum in not more than ten years and possibly in less than five. How the UK handles the Brexit process will be crucial in how that all plays out, but what we're seeing in our research is that people who voted to remain in the UK in 2014 feel resentful of a situation that now makes no sense to them…. That's absolutely going to have a serious impact on the chances of another independence referendum and how people will vote in that referendum," Robin McAlpine said.
In summer 2016, the pro-independence Scottish National Party (SNP) lost 21 seats in general elections that resulted in a Conservative surge in the Scottish parliament and cast doubt on the SNP's initially ambitious plans to hold a referendum on independence between 2018 and 2019.
However, McAlpine expressed disagreement with Adam Tomkins, Scottish Shadow Cabinet Secretary for the Constitution, Communities, Social Security and Equalities, and a Conservative parliamentarian, who said on September 20 that another independence vote would not happen in a lifetime of the Scottish nationalists.
"Adam [Tomkins] says independence is over – just like [UK Prime Minister] Theresa May said she was strong and stable, but even I must admit a surprise in our findings so far. Strong Remain voters who were No voters [to Scottish independence] in 2014 are saying they don't think there should be a re-run of the Brexit vote, but they do want to keep open the option of a second independence referendum in Scotland if Brexit goes badly, or even if they then think Scotland is a better bet on its own," the official explained.
The think tank director also called on the UK authorities to "concretize" the Brexit process and consequences to the Scottish public.
"People are absolutely sick of referendums here, but the way Brexit is being handled is definitely going to have an impact on how people are, currently and in future, going to be looking at independence," McAlpine pointed out.
Scotland has experienced pronounced political turbulence over the recent years, having narrowly voted to remain part of the United Kingdom in 2014 and overwhelmingly supporting membership of the European Union at the Brexit referendum two years later.