IndyRef2: Poll puts support for Scottish Independence at 55%
Mr Johnson, who lost seven seats in Scotland in the 2019 General Election, suffered a blow yesterday after an opinion poll found four-in-ten Scots were being driven toward Scottish independence as a result of his premiership. The Times has revealed Scottish Labour’s internal research, which was carried out by Deltapoll, found 40 percent of voters say they are more likely to support Scotland severing ties with the rest of the UK because Mr Johnson is the current resident inside Number 10.
Only one-in-ten respondents said they were less likely to back independence because Mr Johnson is Prime Minister.
A further 40 percent said it made no difference and another one-in-ten respondents reportedly did not express an opinion.
Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar, who failed to reclaim the unionist crown from the Conservative Party in the 2021 Holyrood election, responded to the findings by bashing Mr Johnson.
The ex-Shadow International Development Minister said: “This blows the Tories’ claim to be the party of the Union out of the water.
“Far from being the great defenders of the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson’s Tories are a gift to the failing SNP and a recruiting agent for those that seek to divide us.
“The United Kingdom deserves better than Boris Johnson’s disastrous and incompetent leadership.”
Mr Johnson’s approval rating across the UK has taken a knock after he was issued with a fixed penalty notice following the Metropolitan Police’s Operation Hillman investigation into partygate.
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Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar responded to the findings by bashing Mr Johnson.
YouGov’s poll tracker put the Prime Minister’s net approval rating at -36 percent.
Mr Johnson’s UK-wide approval rating peaked at 40 percent shortly after COVID-19 reached British shores in April 2020.
However, Scots have been particularly critical of Mr Johnson.
The most recent survey put Mr Johnson’s net approval rating north of the border at -62 percent.
In fact, his approval rating in Scotland has not left the red zone since he became Prime Minister in July 2019.
Mr Johnson could only muster a net approval rating of -6 percent when other Brits resoundingly rallied around the flag in response to coronavirus.
Scots will go to the polls on May 5 and vote in all 1,219 seats up for grabs across 32 council areas, including the 276 wards which are held by the Scottish Tories.
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Boris Johnson (left) meeting Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon (right).
However, a difficult polling day could see the Conservatives lose their status as the leading voice of unionism in Scotland.
Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross, who had called on Mr Johnson to resign over lockdown-breaking parties in Downing Street, could be electorally damaged by the dip in support for the Prime Minister nationwide.
But Mr Ross has withdrawn his letter of no confidence from the 1922 Committee following the outbreak of war in Ukraine.
Speaking about his decision, Mr Ross told the Scotsman: “He is leading the UK response to this crisis at the moment.
“But that doesn’t in any way diminish what he did and the actions that have been taken by those who investigate it.
“He is fit for office to continue with what the UK government has done, his Government has done, to help the people of Ukraine.
“That’s not just me saying it, that’s President [Volodymyr Zelensky] who singled out Boris Johnson as a Western leader who has provided some of the greatest support.”
Mr Ross also said he had not yet seen anything which would “change his mind” on the tenability of the Prime Minister’s position.
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Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon faces local elections on May 5.
Ross withdrew his letter of no confidence from the 1922 Committee after Russia invaded Ukraine.
Responding to Mr Sarwar’s comments, a Scottish Tory spokesman told the Times: “Labour are standing dozens of candidates in this election who have said they’re pro-referendum.
“Anas Sarwar knows there are several people standing for Labour who are openly pro-independence right now, and he’s done nothing to remove them.
“The only time Labour gets off the fence is to form coalitions with the SNP in six councils across Scotland.
“They can’t be trusted to stand up for the United Kingdom.”
Support for Scottish independence has fluctuated following the UK’s decision to leave the European Union.
After COVID-19 hit the UK support turned in favour of the SNP’s campaign.
However, 15 out of the 20 most recent opinion polls suggest Scots would yet again vote against independence.
A BMG survey conducted for the Herlad last month placed unweighted support for the union at 53 percent, marginally below the number who voted against independence in the once-in-a-lifetime referendum held in 2014.