SCOTTISH independence would benefit England and the other UK nations, a leading historian has said.

Professor David Edgerton, a ­lecturer at King’s College London, told the European Conversations podcast that English politics are in the middle of a “profound crisis” and that a break-up of the UK is what the country needs.

Edgerton said that he believes all four nations of the UK would benefit from a “new democratic settlement” and that England needs to have a ­“crisis of authority” before it can move forward.

Kirsty Hughes (below), the host of the podcast, quizzed the professor on his thoughts on how English politics can “move on” from the divisive language around Brexit and pursuing a “global Britain” – and if Scottish independence would provoke change in the other UK nations.

The National:

Edgerton pointed to the ­current UK Government putting a border down the Irish Sea and “betraying” Northern Irish Unionists.

He explained: “That is an ­extraordinary set of events. I can’t ­imagine that this has ever ­happened before in British politics, it’s ­inherently unstable and speaks to a lack of legitimacy, a lack of authority, a lack of ability to think through the implications.

“I’m optimistic, in as much as I think there’s a good chance that Scotland, Northern Ireland and even Wales will want to break away. I think what the English state, if I call it that, needs is an overt crisis of ­authority to overtake it, and I think that would follow from the breakup of the United Kingdom.

“England needs to liberate itself from the Anglo-UK state just as much as Scotland and Northern Ireland and Wales do.

“I think we need a new democratic settlement; I think we need a new conception of Britain’s place in the world, I think fundamentally we need a new sort of political class as well,” Edgerton added.

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“Going back to the earlier point, the idea that the United Kingdom is inherently conservative and backwards is I think deeply wrong, as we’ve seen the politics of Scotland have transformed themselves in the last 20 years in an extraordinary way. I think the same thing can happen in England.”

Edgerton went on to say that whether or not an independence ­referendum was on the cards, the UK is in for a period of turbulence but will come out of the other end better off.

He said: “We need to think of the UK and England as a large Canada, and not as a small US. I think once that realisation sinks in, a lot of this ludicrous damaging posturing will go.

“I think as a country we’ll be able to live not only better with other people, but better with ourselves, because these delusions of grandeur are not just about foreign policy, they’re about internal relations as well.

“And I do agree that we’re in for a period of turbulence, trauma, ­mendacity, danger, but I think there’s no avoiding it and I think there’s ­reason to be optimistic about the outcome.”

The European Conversations Podcast and full interview with Professor Edgerton, produced by the European Movement in Scotland, is available to stream now