Will Scotland Leave the UK?

Simon Tormey

Of the many issues thrown up by Brexit, one of the most pressing is the territorial integrity of the United Kingdom. Brexit was in large measure a revolt by a certain section of English and Welsh opinion against transnational elites, immigration and imagined loss of identity. Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to remain.

The Brexit vote reinforced the sense that the “interests of the UK” is a proxy for the interests of numerically larger England over other parts of the union. Surely Scotland, with its strong sense of national identity and separateness, would seek to challenge the union and return to the warm embrace of the European Union at the earliest opportunity?

This sentiment was further reinforced by the recent success in elections of the pro-EU Scottish National Party (SNP) led by Nicola Sturgeon. The SNP demolished the opposition in the 2019 election, winning 48 out of 59 possible seats.

With Boris Johnson sweeping to power as UK prime minister on the back of a breakthrough in the Midlands and northern England (the “Red Wall”), the scene was set for a showdown over the issue of another referendum on Scottish independence. Some even speculated we would see a Catalonia-style challenge to the authority of Westminster. So what is the state of play, and what is likely to happen?

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