THERESA May’s chief of staff has told Tory aides leaving the EU without a deal could spark new demands for Scottish independence.

According to a report yesterday Gavin Barwell said such a Brexit scenario would create tensions on the Northern Ireland border that could lead to unstoppable pressure for a “border poll” on the reunification of Ireland.

According to officials at the meeting, Barwell said Scotland would be likely to follow with its own demands for independence, while the meeting also considered whether Brexit would stir Welsh “separatism” too, the Financial Times reported.

The Scottish Government is expected to announce a timetable for legislation for an independence referendum soon after the European election results.

Voters go to the polls on Thursday but the Scottish results are not expected until Monday. Polling continues across the EU until 10pm on Sunday and under the election rules results cannot be declared until voting has stopped.

Returning officers across most of Scotland will count on Sunday, ready to announce at 10pm. However, the Western Isles observe the tradition of not working on a Sunday so they will count and declare their result on Monday morning. The Scotland result can’t be declared until the Western Isles have completed.

Mike Russell, the Constitutional Affairs Secretary, is expected to announce plans for a referendum Bill soon after the results are declared, as well as give an update on the creation of a “citizens’ assembly”.