LABOUR voters in England and Wales do not oppose a new independence referendum, raising the prospect Jeremy Corbyn could strike a future deal with the SNP to grant Holyrood the powers to hold a second vote.

A Panelbase poll on attitudes south of the Border found that while there is strong opposition among Tories to a second independence referendum, only 38% of Labour voters oppose the idea.

The poll of 1012 voters for The Sunday Times found around 52% of voters in England and Wales backed a second independence referendum, with 59% Tory voters opposed.

Nicola Sturgeon last month unveiled plans for a new referendum before the next Holyrood elections in 2021, if Scotland is taken out of the European Union, and to introduce a framework bill setting out the rules for the plebiscite in Scottish Parliament.


As poll puts Brexit Party in the lead, FM declares: 'It's time for independence'

She said she would request the necessary powers from the UK Government to hold the new vote during or after the bill was passed.

She told MSPs her reason for making progress on the legislation first, before requesting a Section 30 order from the UK Government, was that she did not want to “squander valuable time now in a stand-off with a UK Government that might soon be out of office”.

“We will seek agreement to a transfer of power at an appropriate point during or shortly after the bill’s passage, on the basis that it will be exercised when this Parliament –and no other – considers it right to offer the people of Scotland a choice,” she said.

Prime Minister Theresa May and her de facto deputy David Lidington have indicated they will reject any request from the Scottish Government for a Section 30 order to hold a new vote.

Opinion polls suggest Labour may form a minority government after the next General Election and could seek support from the SNP at Westminster.

John Curtice, professor of politics at Strathclyde University, said: “The poll underlines why Theresa May is so firmly against a second independence referendum. Her stance chimes with the views of most Conservative voters south of the Border.

“However, Labour voters are less concerned about such a prospect, suggesting that if the next election produced a hung parliament with Labour as the largest party, Jeremy Corbyn might be able to do a deal with the SNP over holding a second independence ballot.”

The referendum bill is due to be introduced in Holyrood this month and should be passed by the end of the year by a pro-independence majority of MSPs.