VOTERS would support Scotland becoming an independent nation if a second referendum was held after Brexit, according to a dramatic new poll.

The public opinion survey, published today by a pro-Europe campaign group, found a majority of people in Scotland would back Yes if a plebiscite was held once the UK quits the European Union. It also revealed that voters in Northern Ireland would support a United Ireland in this circumstance.

The Best for Britain poll found 52% of Scots would vote for independence after Brexit, with the same percentage in Ulster voting for a United Ireland.

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Stephen Gethins (pictured), the SNP’s Europe spokesman in Westminster, welcomed the results, and said that almost all polls since the referendum showed support for an independent Scotland above the 45% level in the 2014 referendum and that “ independence is polling at historic highs”.

“With more people now believing independence will benefit the country economically, the numbers being convinced by the arguments for independence are on the rise,” he added.

“As the deeply damaging consequences of a ‘No deal’ Brexit become clearer, as Scotland’s economy continues to outperform the UK, and as people grow increasingly concerned about the future under Westminster rule, support for Scotland’s ability to take its own decisions in an independent country will only grow further.”

The research was carried out by Deltapoll for the Best for Britain campaign and asked 1022 people north of the Border how they would vote if a referendum on Scotland’s future was held after the UK leaves the EU.

It found 47% would support independence, 43% would opt to stay part of the Union, while 10% didn’t know. Removing “don’t knows”, the result was 52% Yes, and 48% No. If the UK stayed part of the EU, the figures were reversed, with 43% saying they would vote Yes while 47% said they would back remaining part of the UK.

Nicola Sturgeon is due to update Holyrood on her timetable for a new independence referendum this autumn once the terms of Brexit are clear.

In recent months concerns have heightened over the prospect of the UK crashing out of the EU without a deal, and fears such a scenario would lead to shortage of food and medicines.

The UK and Scottish Governments are both undertaking no deal preparations, including stock-piling medicines and medical equipment.

Amid the concerns, the SNP has pledged to renew its fight for independence.

It will hold three national assemblies across the country to consider a new economic case.

Around 200 party members took part in Saturday’s meeting in Aviemore chaired by SNP depute leader Keith Brown.

Kate Forbes, the Scottish Government Minister and a member of the Growth Commission addressed the meeting. Afterwards Brown said the new case for independence was gaining momentum. “Only independence will enable the people of Scotland to build a fairer, more prosperous country which reaches its full potential on the global stage,” he said.

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But Labour MEP Catherine Stihler (pictured) said the poll results were revealing “a clear and present danger” to the UK. “Leaving the EU will be calamitous for Scotland’s economy, and there is no such thing as a good Brexit.

“Leaving the UK would be even more catastrophic, leading to deep austerity and public service cuts that would hurt the poorest the hardest,” she said.

Colin Clark, of the Scottish Conservatives, played down the results saying the body of polling work since the 2014 referendum showed there was not any meaningful change in public opinion.

Thepoll for Best for Britain was conducted from 24 and 29 August.