"IT’S time for independence,” Nicola Sturgeon declared, after a shock new poll showed Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party is set to get more votes than the Conservatives and Labour combined in the European Parliament elections.

The Opinium poll put Farage’s party on track to get 34% of the votes. Labour were second with 21% of votes, and the Tories lag in fourth place with just 11%.

It looks increasingly likely – south of the Border at least – that the Brexit Party will clean up at the May 23 vote. Sturgeon took to Twitter on Saturday to react to the poll numbers, tweeting: “It’s time for independence, Scotland.”

When voters were asked who they’d pick at a General Election, 28% said Labour, while 22% opted for the Tories, just one point ahead of the Brexit Party on 21%. That was echoed in a ComRes poll, which said a snap General Election would see the Tories suffer the worst result in their history.

READ MORE: Scotland’s voice is ignored while that of Farage is amplified

Their survey for the Sunday Telegraph showed that Labour would take 27% and the Brexit Party would win 20%, ahead of the Conservatives on 19%. The LibDems would win 14%, followed by Change UK on 7% and the Greens 5%, with Ukip trailing on 2%. A forecast of how that would translate into seats in Westminster by Flavible Politics – shared online by Sturgeon – suggested the Tories would lose 206 seats, taking them down to 112. Labour would gain an extra 68, putting them on 330. The LibDems, meanwhile, would win 79, making them the third-biggest party in the Commons.

While the SNP would be bumped back down to fourth-largest party status, they’d have 18 more MPs than they currently do, giving them 53, only just ahead of the Brexit Party who would have 51.

Tories who would lose their seat to Farage’s candidates include Penny Mordaunt, the Defence Secretary, and Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary.

The threat of electoral oblivion will heap pressure on May and the Tories.
If the polls prove accurate, Farage will be able to point to his support as proof that the UK must leave the EU immediately without a deal.

Yesterday, on the BBC’s Andrew Marr programme, he said he would demand his Brexit Party becomes part of the government negotiating team if it is successful.

The National:

It also increases the possibility of May being ousted by her party, who could, in a bid to stop haemorrhaging voters to Farage, replace her with a Brexiteer like Boris Johnson.

READ MORE: Theresa May could give details of resignation date next week

Last month the First Minister set out plans for a second independence referendum during the current parliamentary term, which ends in May 2021, if the UK leaves the EU.

She will introduce a framework bill to establish the rules for the vote, and will later request from the Prime Minister a Section 30 order, which would allow the temporary transfer of powers to hold it. The SNP leader has said she believes a vote could even be held next year.

There was an unexpected boost for Yes campaigners yesterday when the Sunday Mail, threw its weight behind the pro-independence Scottish Greens. Though, in an editorial, the paper made clear that their endorsement of Patrick Harvie’s party at the European elections, “doesn’t necessarily mean we’d follow them on the Yes side of a new independence referendum”.

Meanwhile, a Scottish Tory, a Scottish LibDem and a Scottish Labour MP have issued a joint call for constitutional reform in a bid to keep Scotland in the Union. 

Writing in yesterday’s Scotland on Sunday, Stephen Kerr, Alistair Carmichael and Ian Murray said change was essential “to ensure that our United Kingdom prospers in the 21st century and the divisive ideology and grievance of nationalism is not allowed to rip apart our country”.

The three MPs call for a Secretary of State for the Union. This new role would “solve some of the problems the country will face”. 

The men write: “One of the SNP’s arguments for independence is that the Scottish Government is not treated with respect by the UK Government. We reject that claim, but a Department for the Union would put it to bed, and would encourage a better working relationship between the two governments in the interests of all the people of Scotland.”

They also call for English politicians to “revolutionise their own overly centralised system of governance”.