- Scottish people would vote for independence if Boris Johnson becomes prime minister.
- The frontrunner to become Conservative party leader would trigger Scots to vote to leave the UK, according to a new poll.
- Johnson is a divisive figure in Scotland, with a net approval rating of minus 37%.
- When Johnson was editor of the Spectator magazine he published a poem joking about the "extermination" of the "verminous" Scottish people.
- Visit Business Insider’s home page for more stories.
LONDON — The Scottish people will vote for independence from the United Kingdom if Boris Johnson becomes prime minister, according to a new poll.
The current majority against independence in Scotland would be reversed were the former foreign secretary to enter Downing Street, the new Panelbase poll of Scottish voters suggests.
Asked whether they supported leaving the UK, a narrow majority of 51% said they opposed independence.
However, when asked how they would vote if Johnson became PM, independence gained a six point lead of 53% over 47%.
Panelbase / Sunday Times poll of Scottish voters
The poll found that Johnson is a divisive figure in Scotland, with a net approval rating of minus 37%, significantly below any of the other previous candidates for Conservative party leader.
Business Insider revealed earlier this month that when Johnson was editor of the Spectator magazine he published a poem joking about the "extermination" of the "verminous" Scottish people.
Johnson also wrote a column suggesting that Scottish people should be prevented from becoming prime minister.
Business Insider’s story was quoted by SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford at Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday.
Blackford asked Theresa May about the poem and accused Johnson of being a "racist".
Watch May questioned about Johnson’s views on Scotland
A separate poll this weekend found that Johnson’s support in the public has declined in recent days, following revelations about his private life.
The Survation poll for the Mail on Sunday found that voters now believe Johnson’s rival for Conservative leader, Jeremy Hunt would make the best prime minister by 32% to 29%.
- Read more: Boris Johnson published a poem joking about the ‘extermination’ of the ‘verminous’ Scottish people
The Scottish Nationalist Party welcomed today’s poll findings.
"This is a stunning poll that shows independence is within touching distance," SNP Deputy Leader Keith Brown said
"Even without the nightmare scenario of Boris Johnson as Prime Minister a referendum would be too close to call – but if he wins, as expected, backing for independence is set to surge."
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