THE Tory obsession with Brexit has sparked a “fundamental shift in the national mood in Scotland, in favour of independence”.

That’s the SNP’s analysis of the latest report from the Scottish Social Attitudes survey.

They were speaking after research by professor Sir John Curtice and Ian Montagu revealed that all of those voters who were now moving towards Yes, had positive opinions of the EU.

The latest annual round of the Scottish Social Attitudes (SSA) survey was conducted between August 2019 and March 2020, when the UK Parliament was in deadlock over Brexit and when Boris Johnson was elected under the promise to “Get Brexit Done”.

The survey, which has been tracking attitudes towards how Scotland should be governed ever since the advent of devolution in 1999, found a record high of 51% backing Scottish independence.

Just 36% want to stick with devolution, while 7% want no Scottish Parliament at all.

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Among voters as a whole, support for independence is five points higher than it was in 2016. However, among those who would vote Remain in another EU referendum, support for independence has increased by 13 points, from 44% in 2016 to 57% now.

In contrast, among people who would vote Leave in another EU referendum, the proportion backing independence has fallen over the same period from 45% to 39%.

There is evidence of a sharp contrast between voters’ perceptions of Brexit and their feelings about independence, just 18% believe that Britain’s economy will be better off in the wake of Brexit, whereas 43% feel that Scotland’s economy would be better under independence.

Meanwhile, 15% reckon that Brexit will result in Britain having more influence in the world, while 54% believe that Scotland’s voice in the world would be stronger as an independent country.

Meanwhile, only a quarter of people in Scotland (25%) feel that being part of the EU undermines Britain’s distinctive identity, while 62% feel that an independent Scotland would have more pride in itself.

Curtice said: “For a while after the EU referendum, it looked as though the lack of support for Brexit in Scotland was failing to move the dial on public opinion about independence.

“Over time, however, the pursuit of Brexit has weakened many people’s views of the merits of the Union. For a significant body of people in Scotland, independence inside the EU has now come to look more attractive than being part of a UK that is outside the EU.

“That may not have been either the wish or the intention of those who have advocated leaving the EU, but that does not mean that they can afford to ignore the apparent consequences.”

SNP Constitution Secretary Michael Russell said the survey showed that “there has been a fundamental shift in the national mood in Scotland, in favour of independence.”

He added: “The people of Scotland overwhelmingly reject Brexit and the narrow, isolationist stance of Boris Johnson’s Government, and believe Scotland will prosper as an independent country.

“People in Scotland have the right to decide our own future instead of being under the control of governments we don’t vote for, led by the likes of Boris Johnson.

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“The Tory Westminster government cannot be trusted to act in Scotland’s interests, which is one reason independence is becoming the settled will of the majority of people in Scotland.

“The Tories have removed Scotland from the EU against our will and are now, unbelievably threatening to impose a disastrous hard Brexit in the middle of a pandemic and economic recession.

“As an independent member of the EU we will be an equal partner with our friends in the rest of the UK and Europe.”

Scottish Greens co-leader Lorna Slater said: “This report clearly shows that Scotland doesn’t want to be dragged out of the European Union, especially not on the reckless and deregulated terms dictated by the Tory right.

“More and more people are realising that Scotland’s future doesn’t have to be tied to an increasingly undemocratic and right-wing United Kingdom.

“Instead, we could be leading the green recovery and renewable energy charge across the continent with our own seat at the European table.”

SNP depute leader Keith Brown added: “Scotland’s voice has been ignored by Westminster from day one of the disastrous Tory Brexit process. We voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU, yet Tory governments that we didn’t vote for – led by the likes of Boris Johnson – are dragging us out of Europe against our will.

“Record numbers of voters now support independence because it’s clearer than ever that this is not a partnership of equals – the UK government can’t be trusted to act in Scotland’s best interests.

“Support for independence is rising every day and the SNP will stand on a clear message at the Holyrood election next May that people in Scotland  have the right to choose their own future.”