John Swinney claimed the Scottish people were ready to vote Yes in a second referendum after an opinion poll put support for independence at 50 per cent.
The Deputy First Minister said there should be no surprise at the findings of the STV poll which showed opinion was split 50:50 on independence
At Holyrood, Mr Swinney argued that support for independence was growing because Scots had been exposed to hard right Conservative politics and Brexit.
His claim came as he came under attack from the Tories and Labour over the latest oil and gas figures published by the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) on the same day as the Budget. Standing in for Nicola Sturgeon at First Minister’s Questions, Mr Swinney was told the oil and gas outlook meant the Scottish Government’s case for independence was “bogus”.
The OBR figures showed oil forecasts had been revised downwards by £2.7 billion since last November.
The attack came following the publication of the poll by Ipsos Mori for STV News. Among those who expressed an opinion and who were certain to take part if a second independence referendum was held, half said they would vote to keep the Union together while half would vote for Scotland to leave the UK.
When those who were not certain if they would vote were included, the research showed a slim majority for staying in the United Kingdom, with voters split 51 per cent to 49 per cent. It found 52 per cent of those questioned believe Ms • READ MORE: Indyref2: Does knife edge new poll show it’s advantage Yes?
Sturgeon is doing a “good job representing Scotland’s interests” in the Brexit process.
The survey of, 1,029 Scots, found only 24 per cent thought Theresa May is doing a “good job representing Scotland’s interests.
Challenged by Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson’s on Ms Sturgeon’s claim that it would make “common sense” for a second referendum to be held in the autumn of 2018, Mr Swinney said: “Today we have seen an opinion poll published just before Question Time which shows support for the constitutional question on independence at 50:50 in Scotland.
“We shouldn’t be at all surprised by those numbers because that’s the people of Scotland being exposed to the hard right politics of the Tory Party and seeing the mess they are getting us into about Europe.”