NEARLY four in 10 Labour voters say they are more likely to support Scottish independence because Boris Johnson is in Downing Street, according to polling.

Previous reports on internal research which was carried out by Deltapoll for Scottish Labour ahead of the local elections in May show that overall 40% of all voters say they are more likely to back Scotland leaving the UK because of the Prime Minister.

But now, the Sunday National can reveal a breakdown of the results by party shows that apart from SNP voters, Labour supporters are the most likely to say they will back independence because of Johnson.

The poll of around 1000 Scottish adults found 39% of those who voted Labour at the General Election in 2019 agreed with the statement that Johnson as Prime Minister “makes me more likely to support an independent Scotland”.

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The equivalent figure for SNP voters was the highest at 65%, while for Liberal Democrats it was 26% and Greens 24%.

Even some Tories – at 8% – agreed their own UK party leader was more likely to make them back independence.

Labour took second place at the council elections earlier this month, pushing the Tories into third place and becoming the largest Unionist party in Scotland for the first time since 2016.

However it was still the party’s second-worst local election result on record, winning 282 seats compared to the SNP’s 453.

Commenting on the poll, an SNP source said: “Labour will continue to scrap it out for second place in Scotland with the Tories until they stop advocating for Westminster control in Scotland.

“They continually deny the democratic mandate the people of Scotland delivered just one year ago for an independence referendum, until they recognise that they will continue to be an irrelevance in Scotland.”

The issue of Labour’s rejection of another independence referendum had been raised in the weeks ahead of the election.

The National: Scottish Labour Leader Anas Sarwar speaks at the Labour Party conference in Brighton

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar (above) previously said that his party cannot “pretend we believe in something we don’t” and stated that candidates in the council elections must support the union.

However the stance against a referendum was criticised by general secretary of the Scottish Trade Union Congress (STUC) Roz Foyer as not “viable”.

She said it should be up to the Scottish Parliament to decide whether there is an indyref2.

“I certainly would hope that the Labour Party takes a look at itself and gets on the front foot and thinks about how to appeal to all of the workers and voters that do support some form of independence or further powers for Scotland, and really thinks about how they’re going to make a viable offer to those people,” she added.

READ MORE: Major Aberdeen Independence Movement event set to kickstart the 2023 campaign for Yes

Len McCluskey (below), the former general secretary of Unite the Union, also insisted Scottish Labour had to address the constitutional question. He said the party was “stagnating” and “completely out of touch” with ordinary working class people in Scotland.

The National: Unite General Secretary Len McCluskey delivers his speech during the union's policy conference at the Brighton Centre, Brighton, East Sussex. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday July 11, 2016. See PA story POLITICS Labour Unite. Photo

“I believe Scottish Labour really needs to grasp the nettle, they need to talk about independence question,” he stated. “They should support a second referendum, even if they are not declaring at this stage whether they support independence or not.

“But they have to have an imaginative approach, they should, in my view, embrace the concept of federalism and devo-max, to try to breath some new life back into the party, otherwise Labour could be lost to another generation in Scotland.”

Reports before the local election suggesting at least 25 Labour councillors had expressed sympathy for Scottish independence were dismissed by the party, which claimed the majority had “changed their minds”.