'Scotland IS leaving the EU, one way or another', says Theresa: PM lays down the law to Sturgeon after First Minister scales back ambitions for Brussels links - as FOUR polls show she faces LOSING independence vote most Scots don't want
Nicola Sturgeon has demanded a second referendum on Scottish independence
But already suffered setbacks with polls showing strong majority still back union
First Minister said to be ready to accept Scotland would not stay fully within EU
Two thirds of Scots want the bloc to have reduced powers or for the UK to leave
Theresa May warns that Scotland will leave EU even if it votes for independence
By James Tapsfield, Political Editor For Mailonline
and Abe Hawken For Mailonline
15 March 2017
Theresa May heaped pressure on Nicola Sturgeon today by insisting Scotland will leave the EU even if it votes for independence.
The Prime Minister insisted there was no possibility that the First Minister's planned referendum could result in the country staying in the Brussels club.
The blunt message came as Miss Sturgeon
suffered a big blow to her ambitions with four polls showing she faces defeat if the ballot is held.
Theresa May warned during PMQs today that Scotland would be leaving the EU whether or not it votes for independence
Four polls today delivered serious blows to Nicola Sturgeon's ambition of Scotland becoming independent
She is expected to respond to the glaring evidence that she is out of step with public opinion by calling for an independent Scotland to have a looser Norway-style link with the EU
, rather than full membership.
The array of surveys today showed there is still a significant majority in Scotland in favour of remaining in the UK - and people do not want a ballot staged before Brexit happens.
Research for the Scottish Daily Mail suggested 53 per cent want to stay in the union once you exclude those yet to decide. By a margin of 46 per cent to 41 per cent people oppose Mrs Sturgeon's call for a referendum to be held before the divorce process from the EU is complete.
A YouGov poll for The Times put the majority against independence even higher at 57-43.
ComRes research for the Sun found just 25 per cent of Scots thought the country should be fully independent, against 58 per cent who thought it should not and 17 per cent who were not sure.
Meanwhile, the huge annual Scottish Social Attitudes Survey included evidence of a sharp rise in Euroscepticism.
Two thirds of the public north of the border would want Brussels to have reduced powers or for the UK to leave the EU completely, according to the research.
Nicola Sturgeon (pictured) called for a second independence vote for Scotland
The Mail's poll of 1,019 Scots, carried out by Survation between March 8-13, found that 46 per cent oppose Nicola Sturgeon's plan to hold another independence referendum before Brexit, while only 41 per cent support it and 13 per cent were undecided or didn't know.
It also revealed that 48 per cent of Scots would vote No again if there was a referendum, compared to 43 per cent that would vote Yes and nine per cent who were undecided. When undecided voters are stripped out, it gives No a 53-47 majority.
Crucially, the poll also found majority support for Mrs May rejecting any demand from the SNP to hold a referendum before Brexit, with 36 per cent of respondents saying the Prime Minister should reject any request to hold another vote, a further 18 per cent saying she should accept the request but only allow the vote after Brexit, and 31 per cent saying she should devolve the power.
In the wake of the boost, Mrs May told MPs at PMQs today: 'Scotland will be leaving the EU.
'It will leave the EU either as a member of the UK or were it independent ...
'What we need to do now is unite ... and make sure that we can get the best deal for the whole of the UK.'
A Daily Mail poll today showed there is still a solid majority in Scotland against independence
Ms Sturgeon met her Cabinet in Edinburgh for the first time after she shocked Westminster by declaring her plans for a new vote
The EU has flatly dismissed the prospect of Scotland staying inside the club if it splits - with Spain fiercely opposed because of fears about encouraging its own Catalan separatists.
There are also claims that one of Miss Sturgeon's top advisers believes the Scottish economy could take a decade to recover after independence.
In a sign of the nerves among the nationalists, the SNP's Westminster leader Angus Robertson today stressed that there was still time to avert an independence referendum.
The MP said the party's 'efforts are currently focused' on persuading Theresa May to give them guarantees about access to the European single market.
But he also warned that there were only 'days, maybe weeks' to avert the prospect of a vote.
Mrs May is looking to build support for her approach to Brexit by embarking on a tour of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland before she triggers Article 50 later this month.
Her visit to Scotland could be crucial in determining whether Mrs Sturgeon pushes ahead with a vote.
The Scottish Social Attitudes survey of 1,237 voters has asked the same questions about independence and the EU every year since 1999 and reveals growing Euroscepticism.
It found that 67 per cent of Scots are unhappy with the EU - including 25 per cent of Scots who want to leave entirely and 42 per cent who want its powers to be reduced.
The polling evidence has crystalised fears that Miss Sturgeon's demand to stay fully within the bloc might turn off 400,000 voters who backed both independence and Brexit.
The last referendum in 2014 - which the SNP said would settle the issue for a 'generation' - delivered a 55 per cent majority for staying the UK, equivalent to two million votes.
SNP sources were this morning trying to play down reports that Miss Sturgeon would downscale her ambitions to membership of the European Free Trade Association.
Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein are all in that group, giving them access to the single market.
But they have to comply with rules imposed by Brussels and have no real input into legislation which is drawn up in the Belgian capital.
Scotland was warned that if it chooses to leave the UK, it will also be leaving the EU and would have to rejoin as a new member. All new members since 1999 have been obliged to join the Euro.
Andrew Wilson, who heads up the Growth Commission set up by Miss Sturgeon to examine the economic prospects for an independent Scotland, apparently made a dire prediction about the fallout from leaving the UK.
At a summit of senior party figures in January, he suggested it would take five to 10 years for the economy to return to the position it is now, according to Holyrood magazine.
Ruth Davidson, the Scottish Conservative leader, said: 'The SNP's plans to impose a referendum on independence in Scotland have unravelled within 24 hours.'
And in a move which could deal another blow to Ms Sturgeon, Prime Minister Theresa May told the Commons that after visiting Brussels she could not foresee Scotland being allowed to join the EU if it became independent.
Meanwhile, the Scottish Conservatives slammed the SNP's plans and said that they 'unravelled' in just 24 hours and were left in 'total confusion', reports the newspaper.
It also came on the same day Spain warned Scotland it would be at the 'back of the queue' for EU membership if it voted for independence.
Ms Sturgeon is demanding a second independence referendum take place once the outline of Brexit is clear but before it takes place
Her announcement infuriated Prime Minister Theresa May (pictured) who has hinted that she could not see Brussels allowing an independent Scotland to join the EU
The Mail poll found 46 per cent of Scots oppose holding a second independence referendum
Alfonso Dastis, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Spain, said Spain would do nothing to encourage 'secession' in other countries.
The Spanish government has a long dispute with its own Catalonia region.
Mr Dastis said: 'Spain supports the integrity of the United Kingdom and does not encourage secessions or divisions in any of the member states.
'We prefer things to stay as they are.'
Miss Sturgeon and Mrs May engaged in an extraordinary public slanging match yesterday after the threat to call another referendum.
The First Minister branded the PM 'unelected' and dismissed jibes that she did not have a mandate to trigger a fresh ballot so soon after the issue was meant to have been settled.
But Mrs May accused Miss Sturgeon of 'playing games' with the future of the UK, saying she was willing to do anything to fulfil her ambition of breaking up the union.
The Westminster government has to give approval for a binding referendum to be held, meaning that the PM could theoretically block a poll.
However, ministers are resigned to the prospect of a vote as they believe refusing would just fuel nationalist sentiment.
Instead Mrs May is preparing for a pitch battle with Miss Sturgeon over the timing of the referendum - insisting her preferred schedule of Autumn 2018 is unacceptable and the ballot cannot be held before Brexit is finalised the following year.
Last edited by Blackleaf; Mar 16th, 2017 at 06:38 AM..