Just ‘one in five’ Scots in favour of independence

A new poll has shown that only one in five Scots are in favour of political independence from the UK.

Labour’s plans for devolved government saw Scotland given its own parliament in 1998 though the UK parliament retains the power to increase or reduce the legislative might of Holyrood.

But since the Scottish National Party, led by first minister Alex Salmond, assumed power at Holyrood in May 2007 they have pushed for independence from the UK.

However, a poll carried out by YouGov for the Daily Telegraph newspaper shows that an overwhelming majority of the Scottish electorate is content with the current arrangement, with Scotland being afforded its own parliament but still remaining part of the UK.

When questioned over whether they favoured the present arrangement; an increase of powers for the Scottish Parliament; or complete independence from the UK, only 19 per cent of those surveyed supported the last option.

The YouGov figure represents the lowest level of support for separation from the UK since a survey by the Scottish Centre for Social Research indicated 23 per cent approval in 2007.

Some 58 per cent of respondents saw the current ‘best of both worlds’ option as the most satisfactory, while only 29 per cent saw nine years of devolved government as representative of Scotland’s ability to govern itself entirely.

The survey also showed popular unhappiness with Mr Salmond’s trend for attacking the UK government, with 38 per cent of those surveyed saying he was intending to create support for independence by persuading voters that Scotland is treated unfairly.

However, Mr Salmond’s performance as first minister was viewed more positively than that of another Scot, with 53 per cent of those surveyed praising his tenure, compared to 26 per cent approval for Gordon Brown’s reign as prime minister.