Stir­ling Leave EU poll blow

Tories and SNP clash over find­ings

Stirling Observer - - STIRLINGSHIRE REMEMBERS - Alas­tair McNeill

A poll which shows sup­port for leav­ing the EU has de­clined in Stir­ling was this week seized upon by the SNP.

Car­ried out by polling and mar­ket re­search agency Sur­va­tion for Chan­nel 4, it shows that 28.99 per cent of peo­ple in the Stir­ling lo­cal au­thor­ity area sup­port leave – down from 32.28 per cent in the June 2016 Euro ref­er­en­dum.

SNP Stir­ling MSP Bruce Craw­ford said this week the poll showed that Stir­ling – which voted 67.7 per cent to re­main in the EU in the 2016 ref­er­en­dum – was one of the most pro-EU ar­eas in the UK.

The poll also showed that sup­port for in­de­pen­dence had in­creased in Scot­land to 51.39 per cent.

But Stir­ling Tories ac­cused the SNP of us­ing the poll to “bang on” about in­de­pen­dence – and pro-Brexit cam­paign group Scots For Leave ques­tioned the re­sult given the small size of the polling sam­ple.

Mr Craw­ford said: “Our lo­cal econ­omy re­lies heav­ily on the close re­la­tion­ship we have with our im­me­di­ate in­ter­na­tional neigh­bours in Europe. Our com­mu­ni­ties are en­riched by the con­tri­bu­tions of EU mi­grants who have called this place their home – and EU fund­ing sup­ports in­fra­struc­ture, ed­u­ca­tion and jobs growth in the Forth Val­ley to the tune of al­most £80m a year. Scot­land voted de­ci­sively to re­main in the Euro­pean Union, with over two-thirds of peo­ple in Stir­ling vot­ing to stay. It is clear that the ut­ter sham­bles we have seen from the Brexit ne­go­ti­a­tions and Tory UK Govern­ment in­fight­ing has only served to in­crease sup­port for re­main­ing in the EU.

“Peo­ple here know that the least­worst out­come if we are to leave the EU would be to stay in the Sin­gle Mar­ket and the Cus­toms Union, but this Tory Govern­ment just isn’t lis­ten­ing. Is it any won­der that sup­port for Scot­land carv­ing its own fu­ture is on the up?”

And SNP MEP for Scot­land Alyn Smith ac­cused Stir­ling MP Stephen Kerr – who sup­ports a ‘hard’ or ‘clean’ Brexit in­volv­ing leav­ing the Cus­toms Union and Sin­gle Mar­ket – of not rep­re­sent­ing the wishes of his con­stituents.

But a Stir­ling Con­ser­va­tives spokesman hit back: “The SNP are at it again. Our long-serv­ing MSP Bruce Craw­ford and MEP Alyn Smith bang­ing on about their ob­ses­sion with in­de­pen­dence. They try to hi­jack this se­ri­ous is­sue to trundle out their na­tion­al­ist agenda which peo­ple are sick of. Stir­ling needs our MSP to get on with hold­ing his own govern­ment to ac­count over fail­ing ed­u­ca­tion, poor health­care and fall­ing Po­lice num­bers rather than pon­tif­i­cate about in­de­pen­dence.

“Of course one ben­e­fit of leav­ing the EU will be the huge amount of money we save from not need­ing MEPs any­more. That will leave Mr Smith look­ing for other gravy trains.”

Alas­tair Orr of Scots For Leave said the small size of the polling sam­ple was not suf­fi­cient to ac­cu­rately re­flect opin­ion in Stir­ling. He added: “It’s a very strange brand of na­tion­al­ism that would see Scot­land as a rule taker with­out any seat at the ta­ble. To stay in the Cus­toms Union we will have to re­main in the EU in all but name, but ab­di­cate any au­thor­ity to change our laws.”

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