UK Government "not feart" of indyref2

David Mundell says indyref2 would be "divisive and unpleasant."
David Mundell says indyref2 would be "divisive and unpleasant."
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Scottish Secretary David Mundell has warned he's "not feart" of a second independence referendum because Scots would reject leaving the UK as they did in 2014.

But the UK cabinet minister says another vote on the constitution would be "seriously unpleasant" and set "Scot against Scot."

Nicola Sturgeon has claimed another referendum is "all but inevitable" after Prime Minister Theresa May set out plans for a hard Brexit, including leaving the lucrative EU single market.

But "indyref2" would require the approval of the UK Government and defence Secretary Michael Fallon indicated last week Westminster would block such a request from Holyrood.

Mr Mundell today refused to say if UK ministers would approve a "section 40" order allowing a second vote to be held, as he appeared on the BBC Daily Politics Scotland. He has previously indicated that Westminster would not stand in the way, but insisted this was a "process issue."

He added: "The argument remains should there be another independence referendum? That's where the debate needs to be and I'm absolutely clear that there shouldn't be another independence referendum."

"There is not currently a proposal on the table, but I don't want to have the process argument which the SNP luxuriate in."

Mr Mundell added: "I'm not feart' as Nicola Sturgeon likes to suggest of another referendum, because I think it's pretty clear that the outcome would be the same.

"But I dread it because I think it would be a divisive and seriously unpleasant event which would set Scot against Scot again and I don't think people want to see that."

It came as a Panelbase poll today suggests that support for independence stands a 46%, a point higher than the 2014 vote, while 54% of Scots want to remain in the UK. But more than half (54%) believe Scotland will be independent in the next 10-15 years.

The independence issue has been revived after the Brexit vote last year which saw 62% of Scots vote to stay in the EU, but the weight of votes south of the border swung the result in favour of Remain.