Votes on EU membership and Scottish independence would be more likely but far from certainby Kirsty Hughes / November 26, 2019 / Leave a comment
The polls, for now, suggest a majority Johnson government. But for Remainers and supporters of Scottish independence alike, a minority Corbyn government still looks like the best route to achieving their aims. That may be true but there is no guarantee it will deliver what they want.
Corbyn doesn’t know or won’t say if his preferred Brexit deal is better or worse than staying in the EU. But Labour has promised a second EU referendum with a Remain option. And it is open as well to another Scottish independence referendum—though not in the first two years of a Corbyn government.
On paper, Labour’s EU offer should get the support of both Nicola Sturgeon’s Scottish National Party and of Jo Swinson’s Lib Dems. They both want to remain in the EU. And given that the SNP is putting its demand for another independence vote front and centre of its campaign, Labour’s stance should be positive on that score too.
But step back a bit and the route to two referendums via a Corbyn minority government looks tricky.
The latest Panelbase poll for Scotland puts the SNP on 40 per cent, the Tories on 28 per cent, Labour lagging on 20 per cent and the Lib Dems on 11 per cent. This would give the SNP 41 MPs compared to its current 35, mean the Tories lost only one of their 13 MPs but leave Labour with just one MP out if its current seven. With 63 per cent of Scots backing Remain, and 49 per cent supporting independence, Scotland’s disconnect from the rest of the UK is clear.
On these figures, the SNP would certainly be the third party at Westminster again, whoever is in power. And its demands are mounting up—an independence referendum in 2020, another EU referendum, and the abolition of Trident.
But the chances are a Labour minority government would need Lib Dem support too. Swinson insisted two weeks ago she’d prefer another election to supporting a Corbyn government. But would the Lib Dems, having put all their eggs in the Remain basket, really block the opportunity of another EU referendum—with the 31st January Article 50 deadline looming?
Yet the Lib Dems are strongly opposed to another Scottish independence referendum and would surely…