A FACT checking service has proved Alister Jack’s claim that there is “no desire” in Scotland to rejoin the European Union is false, as demand for him to correct the parliamentary record grows.

The Scottish Secretary claimed that Scots were content inside the UK and outside the EU - despite polling showing the opposite. Support for Scottish independence has risen in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling, and 28 separate polls in a row showed over 50% of respondents would vote Remain in a second EU referendum.

The SNP, Scottish Greens and Full Fact have all said that Jack should correct the parliamentary record as soon as possible, but the Scotland Office said he had no intention to do so.

In the last survey, from August 2022, support for Remain hit 65%, after a short drop to 57% at the start of 2021 and 2022.

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In the 2016 EU referendum, 62% of Scottish voters backed staying in the bloc, as well as a majority in Northern Ireland, but as England and Wales voted overwhelmingly to leave, the UK Government pushed Brexit through.

Citing the 28 polls on What Scotland Thinks, the website run by top pollster Sir John Curtice, Full Fact pointed out that Remain had an average lead of 29 points over Leave amongst Scots. The most recent poll in August 2022 also showed the largest lead so far, of 40 percentage points.

Jack claimed on Wednesday, during Scotland questions in the House of Commons, that: “There’s no desire in Scotland to have membership of the EU.

"I believe Scots when they stop and look at the detail, whether it’s on their pensions, whether it’s on trade, whether it’s on currency, they stop, they think about it and they know that their home is the UK.”

However, Full Fact has disputed this claim. The group said: “The prospect of Scotland specifically rejoining the EU was also the most persuasive argument for Scottish independence among those currently opposed to it, according to a poll by YouGov in October 2022.

“In short, although the desires of people in Scotland are not necessarily a simple matter of fact, the evidence strongly suggests that the majority do want to be part of the EU.”

Leo Benedictus, fact checker for the group, said, “While it’s difficult to measure public opinion, the evidence suggests that a large majority of people in Scotland would prefer the UK, or Scotland specifically, to be a member of the EU.

“When Alister Jack told parliament that ‘there was no desire’ for Scotland to have membership, he was speaking against a body of evidence that suggests the contrary.

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“Mistakes happen, but it’s important that our elected officials correct them when they do.”

Dr Philippa Whitford MP, the SNP’s Scotland spokesperson, said that Jack was “completely out of touch with voters”.

She said: “The people of Scotland voted overwhelmingly in favour of remaining part of the European Union and, having seen the subsequent turmoil, even more are now in favour of EU membership.

“Independent fact checkers have now rubbished his claim so, if Jack can’t provide any evidence to back it up, he should correct his statement immediately and apologise for making a monumental fool of himself.”

Whitford suggested Jack was “scared to put the question” of independence and rejoining the EU to voters.

The National: Whitford joined calls for Jack to correct the parliamentary recordWhitford joined calls for Jack to correct the parliamentary record

She added: “The Tories and Labour know the argument for staying under Westminster control is totally threadbare. Brexit has been disastrous for individuals, businesses and the public sector in Scotland, but both parties have tied themselves to this disastrous project.

“Projecting their own wishes upon the people of Scotland will do the Tories no good, as it serves to remind people that the only way to re-join the European Union is by becoming independent country.”

Ross Greer, the Scottish Greens external affairs spokesperson, said that polling since the EU referendum has shown "a clear increase in support for the EU across every corner of Scotland”.

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He added: "Brexit is an ongoing self-inflicted disaster by the UK government. It has caused huge damage to businesses, created staffing shortages across a wide range of sectors, increased food prices and resulted in various goods disappearing from shelves, often for long periods of time, all while robbing us of our right to live, travel and work across the continent. No amount of wishful thinking from Alastair Jack can change that.

"He should absolutely correct the record, but, more than that, he should recognise what a hammer blow his government has inflicted on Scotland and recognise our right to determine our own future."

A Scotland Office source said: "The Secretary of State was very clear the people of Scotland do not support abandoning Sterling in order to invent a new currency as a precursor to joining the Euro, or the painful austerity that would be required to reduce Scotland’s deficit from 12.3 per cent of GDP, according to the Scottish Government’s latest figures, to the 3% of GDP EU membership criterion, or - on that basis - leaving the
UK and attempting to join the EU."