Stirling Leave EU poll blow
Tories and SNP clash over findings
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.”