Europe

UK crumbling: Irish expert says Brexit helped SNP ‘take back control’ – ‘Supreme irony!’

Nicola Sturgeon and SNP slammed by Anas Sarwar on Andrew Marr

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The May 6 election is being used by the SNP as a de factor vote on independence, with Nicola Sturgeon repeatedly threatening to rejoin the EU if Scotland goes it alone. If the SNP secure a majority, Ms Sturgeon said she will have the mandate to demand a vote on Scottish independence, just seven years after the 2014 referendum. Professor Donnacha Ó Beacháin of Dublin City University said Brexit had, ironically, made the UK’s union more unstable.

He told Express.co.uk: “A landslide SNP victory makes a second independence referendum much more likely and this time such a proposal would almost certainly be passed.

“Brexiteers thought that they would deliver a body blow to the EU and trigger its dissolution.

“The supreme irony is that the only union jeopardised by Brexit is the United Kingdom where Scotland seems increasingly bent on ‘taking back control’ as a means of rejoining the EU.”

And an independent Scotland vote could also impact the union between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

Professor Ó Beacháin said: “An independent Scotland would have a profound effect on Northern Ireland, where the momentum is already growing towards unifying with the rest of the island.

“One Unionist party leader, Tom Elliott, described the Scottish National Party as ‘a greater threat to the union than the IRA’, and he was right.

“A century after its birth, Northern Ireland is under unprecedented pressure.

“Recent elections indicate that the region is evenly divided between nationalists and unionists and most people in Northern Ireland think they will unite with the Republic within a generation.

“Scottish independence would undoubtedly accelerate that momentum.”

“As for Northern Ireland, what does it mean to be a unionist when there is no union?”

As the clock ticks down towards the Scottish election and the prospect of a renewed attempt by the SNP to seek another independence referendum, Professor Ó Beacháin said the UK could pay a high price for Brexit.

He said: “The price of Brexit will probably be an independent Scotland and a united Ireland.

“And if opinion polls are to be believed most Brexiteers are quite fine with that.

“In sum, this is a disunited kingdom.

“All signs are there will be multiple filings for divorce in the foreseeable future.”

Scottish Labour leader Ian Murray yesterday said it was “reckless beyond imagining” for Ms Sturgeon to call for a referendum during the UK’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

Commenting on Ms Sturgeon’s Andrew Marr interview on Sunday, Mr Murray said: “Hearing the casual way with which Nicola Sturgeon dismisses those independent experts that she is so fond of quoting when they agree with her and her failure to answer any of the tough questions on separation – from effects on income to the border is playing fast and loose with people’s futures.

“Scotland deserves better than this. Scottish Labour is opposed to independence and a second referendum.”

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