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Salmons says Scots Eurosceptics would vote against Brexit

Former Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond during a Q&A at Trinity College Law Society, Dublin Picture: Brian Lawless/PA

EURO-SCEPTIC Scots will vote to remain under Brussels' rule in the Brexit referendum in an attempt to provoke a split in Britain, Alex Salmond has said.

The former Scottish First Minister said "devious manipulation" in vote management could help bring about a defining schism on the European question in the UK.

This would inevitably lead to a new referendum on Scottish independence, he told a gathering in Dublin.

"Aye, well, it's a wee bit devious," he said, when asked if an overall vote for Brexit would help his lifetime's ambition.

"I have kind of worked out what our campaign, our plan of action should be.

"Clearly, everybody in Scotland has to vote 'in', because one half of the equation – Scotland's 'in' vote and then England's 'out' vote - is that Scotland votes 'in' heavily.

"I know euro-sceptics in Scotland who are so positive on the national question they are going to vote 'in' just to hopefully create this situation."

The ex-Scottish National Party leader said the London branch of his party would have to heavily vote "out" in such a scenario.

"It will require quite an amount of devious manipulation," he said, but added: "I think we will just campaign for 'in' and see how the cards fall."

The MP and MSP said he believes the in/out Brexit referendum will take place next September.

Scotland should vote in favour of remaining as part of the EU by two to one, he predicted.

He also believes it is possible England could vote to leave the union.

"Then you would have a situation which Nicola (Sturgeon) has described as a material change in circumstances, which might well provoke a very rapid second referendum in Scotland," he added.

Either way, and despite losing last year's Scottish independence referendum, Mr Salmond insisted a break-up of the UK was now "as near to inevitable as anything comes to inevitable".

"What else could do it? Trident on the Clyde for the next 50 years, a decision on that," he said.

"Another Tory government in 2020... (These are) all political events which could provoke another referendum."

Mr Salmond was in Ireland to receive the Praeses Elit award by Trinity College Dublin's Law Society for an outstanding contribution to politics.

The award was founded by former Irish president and UN High Commissioner Mary Robinson.

Past recipients include Cherie Blair, Louise Arbour, Navi Pillay, Lord Neuberger, president of the UK Supreme Court, and US astronaut Commander Christopher Hadfield.

Mr Salmond quipped it was the best award he had received in weeks, having been honoured earlier this month by London's right-wing Spectator magazine as Parliamentarian of the Year.

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