43% of Scots would accept ‘hard border’ to remain in EU

Prime Minister Theresa May holds a Joint Ministerial Council meeting in Downing Street. Picture; PA
Prime Minister Theresa May holds a Joint Ministerial Council meeting in Downing Street. Picture; PA
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More than two out of five Scots would accept a “hard border” with the rest of the UK if it meant Scotland staying in the European Union, a new poll has found.

The BMG survey for The Herald newspaper found 43% would rather have border checkpoints within the UK but with Scotland inside the EU, while 57% would prefer free trade and no borders with the rest of the UK but with Scotland outside the bloc.

Prime Minister Theresa May. Picture; PA

Prime Minister Theresa May. Picture; PA

BMG polled 1,012 Scottish adults between November 11 and 16.

The survey also found an equal split in opinion over which market is more important - the EU or the UK.

Respondents were asked which relationship is most important for Scotland to retain - free trade with the rest of the UK, free trade with EU countries, or free trade with countries other than the UK and the EU.

A total of 40% opted for free trade with the rest of the UK, 39% for the EU, and 21% with other countries.

The poll comes as the Scottish Government prepares to publish proposals aimed at keeping Scotland in the single market.

Nicola Sturgeon has previously confirmed she is looking at the options of the European Free Trade Association and European Economic Area.

Opposition parties have warned against any proposals which could end free trade within the UK.

Commenting on the poll findings, Robert Struthers from BMG Research, said: “An astonishing proportion of Scots would be comfortable with a hard border between Scotland and the rest of the UK if it meant the country could stay within the EU.

“But these are disproportionately Yes voters, Remain voters and voters on higher incomes and occupational classes.”

Green MSP Ross Greer said: “All sides are committed to avoiding a hard border between the North and Republic of Ireland so the chances of erecting one between Scotland and England - under any constitutional arrangement - seem pretty remote.

“The reality is that we voted overwhelmingly to stay in the European Union and that is the mandate our Parliament has to pursue and which Westminster must respect, regardless of how little the Tories actually care for the Scottish public.”