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Indyref2 would result in Yes vote but ballot will not be held, says ex-Tory MSP

Adam Tomkins said Yes supporters would win a second independence referendum if one were to be held (PA)
Adam Tomkins said Yes supporters would win a second independence referendum if one were to be held (PA)

A second Scottish referendum would result in a narrow victory for independence campaigners, a former Tory frontbencher has claimed.

Professor Adam Tomkins, who stood down as an MSP last May, said a fresh ballot on Scotland’s future in the UK will not take place, saying it can “safely filed under Not Going to Happen”.

But he added that if there was a referendum it would result in a slim vote for independence, suggesting there would be a similar result to the 2016 Brexit referendum when the UK voted by 52% to quit the European Union.

Writing in The Herald newspaper, the constitutional law expert said: “Scotland would vote for independence this time around because a narrow majority of mainly younger voters would determine that it was a price worth paying to escape the United Kingdom.

“It would be close. It would be contested. It would be brutal and ugly and horrible.

“But Yes would win, in my view, by about the same sort of margin by which Leave prevailed over Remain in 2016.”

He explains this would be the because “by a narrow majority, the voters of Scotland would be punishing Britain for Brexit, for Covid mismanagement, for failing to reform and adapt itself, for callous disregard and corruption in government, and for the man who (to them) embodies all of these failures – Prime Minister Boris Johnson”.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is insistent her Government has a mandate for a second independence referendum (Michael Wachucik/PA)

However he was insistent indyref2 will not happen, despite First Minister Nicola Sturgeon repeatedly stating she plans to hold such a ballot before the end of next year.

The Scottish Government is to bring forward a Bill for another referendum, and Prof Tomkins said while this will pass Holyrood it will not become law – stating the UK Supreme Court will “either strike it down or will so hollow it out that no meaningful referendum can be held”.

The former Conservative MSP insisted: “There is going to be no repeat referendum on independence any time soon.

Professor Adam Tomkins was clear there will not be a referendum ‘any time soon’ (Andrew Milligan/PA)

“The 2014 referendum relied on Westminster giving its consent. It was this consent which underpinned the legality of the 2014 referendum and, this time around, it is perfectly plain that such consent is going to be withheld.

“Everybody knows this. The First Minister knows it. Her Government know it. Holyrood knows it. You know it.

“And yet the pretence goes on that there is somehow, none the less, going to be a second independence referendum on the First Minister’s preferred timetable of a date to be confirmed in 2023. There is not.”

SNP MSP Michelle Thomson said the comments showed that “Adam Tomkins is more alive to the mood of the people of Scotland than the Tory colleagues he left behind in the Scottish Parliament”.

Ms Thomson said: “People across Scotland have overwhelmingly voted for an independence referendum and it is undeniable that as they continue to be forced to live with the cuts, corruption and cruelty of Westminster control, they know that a better future is possible as an independent country – and will vote for it when they have the chance.

“As has been long suspected, a fear of the result of an independence referendum is the most likely reason why the Tory party continue to stand in the way of one taking place in a Trump-like denial of democracy.”

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