SCOTTISH independence has received a major boost as a new poll shows people would vote Yes regardless whether Rishi Sunak, Liz Truss or Boris Johnson is prime minister. 

The research also found that the Tories could lose half of their remaining seats in Scotland – leaving them with only three MPs north of the Border. 

The poll also estimated the SNP were expected to take 50 seats, based on 44% of respondents saying they would back them in a General Election. 

Meanwhile, the numbers revealed Labour would win two seats in Scotland, one more than what they currently have, based on 23% of respondents saying they would vote for them.

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The Liberal Democrats remained unchanged with four seats based on a backing of 8%. 

The Sunday Times Panelbase survey took into account 1133 adults in Scotland. It showed that 49% of respondents supported independence and 51% opposed among those who had already made up their minds. 

However, it also showed that support for staying in the United Kingdom dropped to 48% if Truss becomes prime minister and 49% if Rishi Sunak succeeded Boris Johnson. 

The poll also showed 52% would vote yes if Johnson was to remain in his current post. 

Reacting to the news, the SNP’s depute Westminster leader Kirsten Oswald MP said: “People in Scotland are sick fed up of disastrous Tory politicians they didn’t vote for and the shambolic governments they oversee, this poll is yet further proof of that and the growing desire to escape Tory rule. 

“And it’s little wonder support for the Tories and the Union is so low and falling considering who stands to replace Boris Johnson in the horror show that is the Conservative leadership election.”

Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss are still trying to win over Conservative Party members as they look to succeed Boris Johnson.

The National: Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss attended a hustings in Perth last week Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss attended a hustings in Perth last week

Oswald continued: “On one side we have a law-breaking former Chancellor who consistently refused to implement meaningful support for the most vulnerable, exacerbating the already spiralling Tory-made cost of living crisis, all while standing by the disgraced Boris Johnson all the way to the bitter end. 

“And on the other side we have a poundshop Thatcher tribute act determined to shirk responsibility for the mess the UK is in, and ignore Scotland’s democratically elected First Minister and the people of Scotland’s mandate for an independence referendum.”

Both Tory candidates have ruled out granting a referendum with Liz Truss recently branding Nicola Sturgeon an “attention seeker”.

Oswald added: “While both candidates squabble in their protracted distraction of a leadership election, vulnerable households are doing what they can to gear up for a brutal winter defined by soaring energy bills and difficult choices between whether to heat or eat.

“So far neither Sunak or Truss has offered up the prospectus to prevent that miserable reality from coming to fruition and plunging millions more into poverty and destitution.

“It makes sense we’re seeing an increase in support for the SNP and independence as a means to escape the sinking ship that is the UK, and Scots will have the chance in a referendum next year to grasp that opportunity and end undemocratic Tory rule over Scotland once and for all.”

Writing in the paper, Britain’s leading analyst Sir John Curtice said: “Simply arguing that another referendum should not be held at all seems unlikely to win many converts.

“While 44% oppose a referendum in the next five years, 48% are in favour. 

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“Ultimately the Union will only be safe if people in Scotland come to believe in it. But it is far from clear that the next prime minister will have the right strategy to achieve that.”

The pair held a leadership hustings in Perth last week and have both said that, should they be elected, the Scottish Government will face greater scrutiny. 

Truss’s team suggest that they will take a far tougher line than Johnson’s government. 

Michael Gove and Lord McInnes of Kilwinning, No. 10's adviser on the Union, persuaded Johnson that the best way to preserve the union was to try and demonstrate the benefits of being in the UK. 

This included passing money directly from Whitehall to Scottish councils and charities.

However, reports suggest that Truss will look to rebrand Scottish independence as “separatism” to try and paint the movement in a negative light. 

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In response to those plans, SNP MP Philippa Whitford said it showed how the Tories “have no respect for how Scottish voters vote”.

Meanwhile, Sunak said in the pair’s debate last week that it was “quite frankly barmy” for the SNP to pursue an independence referendum. 

He said he would not ignore the First Minister but that he wanted to “take her on and beat her”.

The poll also showed that English voters think it more likely than not that Scotland would vote for independence with more believing it is likelier under Truss (28%) than under Sunak (26%) or Sir Keir Starmer (22%).