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Break-up of the Union? Insight and opinions of MPs

Cameron Stocker Senior Parliamentary Panels Coodinator 16/04/2021

With increasing calls for independence in all the Devolved nations, Savanta ComRes asked MPs their views and whether they think independence in Scotland and Wales, and the reunification of Ireland are now more likely.

Since Brexit, calls for Scottish independence and Irish reunification have been invigorated, with both Scotland and Northern Ireland being two of just three UK regions that were more in favour of remaining in the EU than leaving.
And, despite a majority in Wales voting to ‘Leave’, Plaid Cymru has also promised an independence vote in the next five years if the party comes to power in May's Senedd election.

One in six (15%) MPs believe Welsh independence is now more likely as a result of Brexit...

Half (51%) of MPs believe that Scottish independence is now more likely as a result of Brexit, whilst four in ten (37%) disagree with this. 

There is a divide between MPs elected in 2019 and those elected prior, as three in five (57%) MPs elected before 2019 believe Scottish Independence is more likely due to Brexit, whilst half (52%) of MPs elected in December 2019 do not believe Brexit has made any impact.  

When results are split by party a noticeable difference in opinion becomes apparent; four in five (83%) Labour MPs agree that Scottish independence is now more likely due to Brexit, whereas only three in ten (29%) of their Conservative colleagues agree. 

The Commons is also split on whether Brexit has now made Irish reunification more likely as a result of Brexit. Half (51%) of MPs believe it is now more likely, whilst two in five (39%) disagree. 

There is also a difference of opinion amongst MPs on whether Brexit will harm the peace process in Northern Ireland, as four in ten (42%) MPs believe the peace process will be harmed. Half (48%) however do not believe Brexit will damage the peace in Northern Ireland. Conservative and Labour MPs differ considerably in this matter, as nine in ten (86%) Labour MPs believe the peace process in Northern Ireland will be harmed, whilst eight in ten (79%) Conservative MPs disagree. 

MPs however do not appear worried about Welsh independence as a result of Brexit, possibly as the majority of Welsh voters opted to leave the EU. One in six (15%) MPs believe Welsh independence is now more likely as a result of Brexit, whilst seven in ten (69%) MPs disagree that Welsh independence is now more likely. 

Although Brexit may have made Scottish independence more likely in the eyes of MPs, it still appears there is confidence in the Commons that if Indyref2 were to take place, Scotland would once again opt to remain part of the UK. 

Half (52%) of MPs believe that ‘No’ would win once again, whereas one in four (28%) MPs believe that ‘Yes’ would win, meaning Scotland would become an independent nationInterestingly, one in five (21%) MPs are not sure who would likely win, including two in five (40%) Labour MPs. 

In the 2014 Scottish referendum, only a simple majority was required for either side to win, yet this appears to divide opinion in the Commons. For ‘Yes’ to win, and for Scotland to become independent, half (49%) of MPs believe that only a simple majority should be needed once again if Indyref2 were to take place, whereas two in five (42%) MPs believe a higher threshold than a simple majority should be needed for ‘Yes’ to win. 

Half (53%) of Conservative MPs believe only a simple majority is needed, whilst only three in ten (32%) Labour MPs agree. Somewhat unsurprisingly, all SNP MPs questioned believe only a simple majority is needed for Scotland to vote for independence if Indyref2 were to take place. 

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