Scottish election 2021 results: Scotland divided over Westminster referendum issue, poll suggests

Scots are divided on their opinion of what the Scottish Government should do if Westminster refuses to allow a second independence referendum, a poll has found.

People taking part in the March for Independence wave Saltires as they process through Glasgow city centre.

The question, put by Ipsos Mori before last Thursday’s election, asked Scots what they thought the Scottish Government should do if the SNP won a majority of seats at the election, but the UK Government refused to allow another independence referendum.

In the election, the SNP did not win an overall majority, coming one seat short of winning the 65 needed, although there is now a larger majority of MSPs from pro-independence parties elected to Holyrood than in 2016.

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A total of 41 per cent of the 1,502 adults aged over 16 who took part in the survey said the Scottish Government should accept another referendum cannot be held in the next five years.

Thirty-two per cent said they should take the UK Government to court to try and establish a legal basis for a referendum, while a further 16 per cent said Scotland should hold the referendum anyway, without the consent of the UK Government.

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Emily Gray, managing director of Ipsos MORI Scotland, said: “Recent comments from Michael Gove suggest that the UK Government’s position on a second referendum on Scottish independence remains unclear.

"These results show that if the UK Government were to refuse a second referendum, Yes and No supporters were sharply divided pre-election on what course of action the Scottish Government should take – although it should be noted that they were asked about the best course of action in the event of a majority for the SNP rather than a majority for pro-independence parties.

"There was very little change in people’s views since Ipsos MORI previously asked this question in February. The key question now is whether this continues post-election or people’s views on a second independence referendum change further under the new reality.”

Views on what strategy the Scottish Government should adopt varied substantially between those in favour of independence and those against.

Three-quarters of those polled who would vote No said the Scottish Government should accept that a referendum cannot be held in the next five years – compared with 7 per cent of those who would vote Yes who say this.

Among those who would vote Yes to independence, 56 per cent favoured the legal route – though 29 per cent favoured a ‘wildcat’ referendum without UK Government consent.

A total of 15 per cent of No voters favoured either the legal route (10 per cent) or a wildcat referendum (5 per cent).

Results are broadly similar to when Ipsos MORI last asked this question in February. The polling firm said this suggests that nothing in the election campaign moved Scots’ views on this issue significantly.

Earlier yesterday, UK Government minister Michael Gove refused to rule out legal action over a possible second Scottish independence referendum, refusing to answer questions over whether he would consider Supreme Court action in the event First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tried to hold a referendum.

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