How Scottish voters could hold the key to keeping UK in Europe

Image: Lynne Cameron/PA Wire
Image: Lynne Cameron/PA Wire
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Scottish voters could prove to be “decisive” in keeping the UK in the European Union, campaigners claimed yesterday, as a new opinion poll suggested that more than three quarters of Scots believe Britain should retain its membership.

Pro-European feeling is so high north of the border that a high turnout could be “influential if not crucial” to the overall result of June’s referendum, Scotland Stronger in Europe said as the group held its official launch in Edinburgh.

With just over six weeks to go until the UK votes on its future in Europe, a Survation poll for the Daily Record newspaper put support for remaining in the EU at 76 per cent among Scottish voters, which campaigners said highlighted the country’s importance to the result.

“The referendum looks like being extremely close UK-wide, and we are putting all our supporters and activists on alert that the votes of the people of Scotland could make the difference in achieving a Remain result across the UK,” said John Edward, senior campaign spokesman for Scotland Stronger in Europe.

The campaign group, which does not involve political parties, said it was hoping to connect with people across communities, workplaces, trade unions, and civic organisations. It is chaired by Professor Mona Siddiqui, an academic at the University of Edinburgh.

One of the group’s members is Jayne-Anne Gadhia, the chief executive of Virgin Money, who warned that Scotland’s economic prosperity was “critically linked” to the UK’s membership of the EU and that Brexit would hit people’s spending power.

She added: “It will mean that when you are in Europe and you want to use your mobile phone you are going to have to pay more, it will put the costs of flights up, it will put up prices in the shops, it will increase mortgage and credit card rates.”

Brexit may also have consequences for Scottish independence, with SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon warning that demands for a second referendum on the issue would become unstoppable if the country was dragged out of the EU against its will.

Patrick Harvie, the co-convenor of the Scottish Greens, has also said his party would back another vote on Scotland’s future in these circumstances.