Home U.K. John Curtice signals Boris has to do ONE thing to obliterate Sturgeon's...

John Curtice signals Boris has to do ONE thing to obliterate Sturgeon's independence bid

Pro-independence sentiment has started to build in Scotland in recent months, thanks in part to Nicola Sturgeon’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. But Sir John Curtice, Professor of Politics at the University of Strathclyde, has hinted how Boris Johnson can quell the rising support for an independent Scotland.

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Sir John made the suggestion in an article, where he sought to compare the relationship between Brexit, coronavirus and Scottish independence.

When discussing the first Scottish referendum, held in May 2014, he said: “If you go back to the 2014 referendum, there was no relationship at that referendum between people’s attitudes towards Europe, and whether or not they voted Yes or No.”

He said the 2016 EU referendum sparked a movement of pro-Union Remain voters who now would back leaving the Union.

But, pro-independence Brexiteers backed Scotland remaining in the UK – which balanced the two sides out.

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Boris Johnson has been told how to quell independence sentiment in Scotland (Image: Getty/PA)

John Curtice has suggested Boris Johnson needs to do just one thing to halt Scottish independence (Image: Getty)

However, Sir John said the balance in opinions started to shift last year – in favour of independence.

Writing for Politics.co.uk, he said: “Last year it became clear that the group of people who were moving from No to Yes because they voted Remain was now larger than the group moving in the other direction.

“So by the end of 2019 and by the time Boris Johnson gets his majority, it’s very clear that the pursuit of Brexit is beginning to undermine support for the Union, such that we were getting close to but were not quite at the 50-50 mark.”

As a result, the political expert appears to point out that Mr Johnson needs to capitalise on anti-EU sentiment, and get Brexiteers on board with keeping Scotland in the Union.

The First Minister has previously said she is confident an independent Scotland could rejoin the EU.

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Nicola Sturgeon backs an independent Scotland (Image: Getty)

Ms Sturgeon has been steadfast in her determination to secure a second Scottish independence referendum after the 2014 vote failed to go her way.

The Tories have so far refused to even discuss the matter, reminding the Scottish First Minister it was a once in a lifetime referendum.

But, as Sir John points out, calls for Scottish independence are on the rise.

Scottish voters, many of whom voted No in the 2014 referendum, have started to shift opinion in favour of an independent Scotland.

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Nicola Sturgeon has been praised for her handling of the coronavirus pandemic (Image: Getty)

Boris Johnson is determined to keep the union together (Image: PA)

The shift in the polls prompted Boris Johnson’s flying visit to Scotland last month, but his trip did little to quell rising support for independence.

Mr Johnson is determined to keep the UK together, and not become the Prime Minister who “lost the Union”.

But the pandemic has resulted in a renewed drive for independence in Scotland, as the UK Government has been criticised for its approach to the crisis.

James Kelley, of pro-independence website Scot Goes Pop! said: “When the pandemic started, I briefly thought ‘well, this could be curtains [for independence], at least for a good few years’.

Scottish independence poll (Image: Express)

“The fact that it’s gone completely the other way demonstrates how catastrophic Westminster’s handling of the crisis has been.”

By contrast, Ms Sturgeon has seen a surge in support during the pandemic, the opposite to Mr Johnson’s waning personal ratings.

Expert Sir John suggested the First Minister’s high popularity is because she chose to front all of Scotland’s press briefings, and appeared to emphasise with the public.

He said: “There’s been a sense in which basically she’s just levelled with people.

“It’s certainly possible to construct a case that would argue that perhaps Nicola Sturgeon has got the tone correct and given the impression that she knows what she’s doing.”

Source Daily Express :: UK Feed

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