GROWING demand for a second independence referendum cannot be ignored, Ian Blackford has said – as a new poll found voters outwith Scotland also back a fresh vote.

As many as 60% of voters across Britain agree Scots should get a second chance to decide on splitting from Westminster, with 40% against.

That’s when “don’t knows” are removed from the survey of more than 1500 people. With the “don’t knows” included, 45% of people in England, Scotland and Wales said they believed the Government should allow a second referendum on the issue of Scottish independence, while 30% were against the idea.

The survey was carried out by pollsters BMG for The Independent, with majorities backing indyref2 recorded in England, Wales and Scotland. Northern Ireland was not included.

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Blackford, the SNP’s Westminster leader, said: “This is a significant poll for the independence movement, showing a majority of people across the UK, not just Scotland, believe that Scotland should have the choice to decide its own future.

“From this poll it’s clear that it should be up to the people and parliament of Scotland to decide whether there should be another independence referendum – not a detached and broken Westminster system.

“It would be unacceptable for any government in Westminster to block Scotland’s democratic right to choose.

“Scotland faces a serious and growing threat from Westminster. Throughout the Brexit process we have been completely ignored – the past three years have underlined the rising and unsustainable cost to Scotland of not being independent.

He added: “It is no wonder that support for independence is at record levels. The people of Scotland deserve the choice of a better future than the Brexit Britain being imposed upon us against our will.”

With the Scottish Government having already brought forward legislation that could pave the way for such a vote, the First Minister confirmed she will “seek agreement to the transfer of power that will put the referendum beyond legal challenge”.

Earlier this month, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed she will seek a Section 30 order to ensure her promised 2020 independence referendum is “beyond legal challenge” – which is vital to ensure a win would be recognised by other governments and to meet qualification criteria for re-entry into the EU.

The National: Nicola Sturgeon

Hitting out at the prospect of a No-Deal Brexit as she unveiled the latest Programme for Government earlier this month, Sturgeon said: “We intend to offer the people of Scotland the choice of a better and more positive future as an independent nation.

“The Referendums Bill introduced before recess is about to resume its parliamentary process. I can confirm today that during the passage of the bill we will seek agreement for the transfer of power that will put the referendum beyond legal challenge.”

The new poll found supporters of the Labour Party, the LibDems and the Brexit Party in favour of a Scottish vote.

Conservative voters were near-tied on the issue, with pollsters recorded a result of 44-42 against. It also looked at the issue of the Northern Ireland border, with more than half of those polled in favour of a vote after Brexit to let that part of the UK decide whether to keep the status quo or leave to rejoin Ireland.

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The poll found that 52% supported a border referendum, while 19% were against it. When the “don’t knows” are removed the split is 73% in support of the idea and 27% against.

While those in Northern Ireland were not included in the research, previous work by Lord Ashcroft found 46% would vote to join the Republic of Ireland, while 45% wanted to remain part of the UK.

DUP MP Gavin Robinson said: “The criteria for holding a border poll are clearly outlined and have not been met. However, the focus should not be on holding a divisive border poll and creating further community tension in Northern Ireland.

“We want to see the Northern Ireland assembly and devolved institutions restored so that decisions can be taken on schools, hospitals and the other vital public services which everyone relies on.”