Brexit

Majority in north back united Ireland if Brexit goes ahead, poll says

A union flag, saltire and European flag flying outside the Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh
Brendan Hughes

A MAJORITY in the north would vote for a united Ireland if the UK leaves the European Union, new polling suggests.

Brexit going ahead could also lead to Scots voting for independence, according to the research by Deltapoll for Pro-European campaigners Best for Britain.

A total of 52 per cent surveyed in Northern Ireland said they would vote for a united Ireland after the UK leaves the EU, with 39 per cent favouring the north staying part of the UK, while seven per cent did not know and the remainder said they would not vote.

Support for a united Ireland also increased if there ended up being a hard border with the Republic. Of the 1,199 people questioned in Northern Ireland, 56 per cent said a hard border would lead them to vote for a united Ireland.

However, if Brexit does not happen, only 35 per cent said they would support a united Ireland while 52 per cent would vote for Northern Ireland to remain part of the UK, with 11 per cent unsure and the rest saying they would not take part in the ballot.

Of those who described themselves as having a "nationalist heritage", 94 per cent said they would vote for a united Ireland after Brexit, compared to 73 per cent if the UK did not leave the EU.

Among those who did not consider themselves as having either a nationalist or unionist background, support for a united Ireland dropped from 59 per cent to 23 per cent if the UK does not leave the European Union.

Meanwhile, the research also indicated there could be a majority for independence in Scotland following Brexit.

When asked how they would vote if a referendum on Scotland's future was held after Brexit, 47 per cent said they would support independence, with 43 per cent saying they would opt to stay part of the UK.

But if the UK stayed part of the EU, those figures would be reversed, with 43 per cent saying they would vote for independence while 47 per cent said they would back remaining in the UK.

In both scenarios, 10 per cent of the 1,022 people surveyed did not know how they would vote.

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