Raising the spectre of another independence referendum, the Labour Party’s pro-Remain campaign leader has said that Scots could be justified in wanting to leave the UK in the event of Brexit.
The pro-EU campaign leader and Labour Party Member of Parliament, Alan Johnson, was speaking at an event arranged by Guardian Members when he warned that the UK was running “a very, very high risk not just for Britain’s place in Europe but Britain’s continued unity”, reports The Guardian.
Mr. Johnson conceded that his warning “does depend on Scotland voting heavily to remain”, but said that in those circumstances he would be able to understand the Scottish people’s desire to leave the UK, admitting:
“To be frank, if I was a Scot… I would be thinking again as well.”
His suggestion was made in the light of recent comments from First Minister Nicola Sturgeon who indicated she would very likely regard the UK voting to leave the EU while Scotland voted to remain as a “trigger” which would justify a second Scottish independence referendum.
Pro-Brexit campaigners were also speaking at the private event. Both UKIP leader Nigel Farage and the Tory Minister of State for Energy, Andrea Leadsom MP, rejected the imagined threat to the UK’s unity of post-Brexit Scottish independence.
Mrs. Leadsom stated that the UK government would not allow the Scottish National Party to hold a new referendum, given they had had one so recently and that had been described by Prime Minister David Cameron as a “once in a generation” event.
Mr. Farage questioned the polling which has suggested Scottish voters are heavily in favour of staying in the European Union (EU). He claimed that levels of support in Scotland for Brexit were in fact rising, making the latest ‘Project Fear’-style warning less likely to materialise.