Politics Latest: Bettors think Scotland must wait for independence

Scotland's first minister Nicola Sturgeon
Sturgeon has told the EU to "keep a light on for Scotland"

There's growing support for Scottish independence but Nicola Sturgeon's biggest challenge could be getting a referendum, says Max Liu. Meanwhile, the Irish election looks tight...

YouGov reported: “Over one in five (21%) of those who voted Remain in 2016 but No in the independence referendum (in 2014) have now shifted over to Yes.”

Boris Johnson has rejected calls for a referendum on Scottish independence after first minister Nicola Sturgeon said Scotland had been taken out of the European Union against its will. No referendum before 2025 is 2.166/5 on the Betfair Exchange and Sturgeon has admitted that supporters of independence will have to be patient.

As the UK left the European Union on Friday night Sturgeon talked up the possibility of an independent Scotland joining the EU, telling Brussels to "leave a light on for Scotland":

On Sunday, former European Council president Donald Tusk suggested that the EU members would be in favour of an independent Scotland joining the EU.

Scottish Remainers increasingly support independence

A YouGov poll this week showed 'Yes' taking a lead in the independence debate with 51% backing Scotland's secession from the UK and 49% opposed. The lead is tiny -and it should be remembered that support for independence was always likely to as the UK made its exit from the EU - but it reflects the way that Remainers north of the border are coming around to the idea that an independent Scotland is the best way for them to be inside the European Union.

While England and Wales voted to Leave, 62% of Scots voted to Remain and that number included many who had voted against Scottish independence in 2014. YouGov reported:

"Over one in five (21%) of those who voted Remain in 2016 but No in the independence referendum (of 2014) have now shifted over to Yes."

On Sportsbook, Scots are 5/6 to choose independence at the next referendum but the odds of 1/2 on no referendum before 2022 reflect the sense that getting the chance to hold the vote could be the biggest challenge facing Sturgeon.

When David Cameron granted a referendum to Scotland in 2014 it dominated the news for several months, the campaign was damaging for all the Westminster parties and the contest proved to be closer than expected.

Now that he's secured a commanding majority at Westminster, Johnson wants a period of stability and knows that a referendum in Scotland would threaten that. If Scots chose independence it could easily precipitate his downfall.

The odds suggest that's a long way off but Sturgeon and others will ensure that the question of Scotland's future is never far from the political agenda.

Varadkar says all to play for in Irish election

With under a week to go until Ireland's general election, the PM Leo Varadkar has admitted that the outcome looks and that "all is to play for."

Varadkar, who has been in office since 2017, is as long as 5.69/2 to be PM after the election, with opposition party Fianna Fail backed to win most seats and their leader Michael Martin 1.251/4 to succeed Varadkar in the top job.

Leo Varadkar 956.jpg

Varadkar's Fine Gael are polling at around 22% behind Fianna Fail's 27%. The parties, which are both of the political centre, have governed together in coalition but Varadkar said on Sunday, "It will be difficult to form a government over the next few months."

This is reflected in the next government market and is in part because Sinn Fein are expected to do well next Saturday. They are polling at around 20% and are odds-on to take over 18.5 seats again. Varadakar has ruled out going into coalition with them.

Will we see a reverse Brexit?

The UK and the European Union now begin the long process of agreeing, or failing to agree, on a trade deal.

Those hoping that Brexit would bring an end to British delusions will wince at reports today that UK diplomats have been told not to sit next to their former EU allies at international summits.

Asked about this by Andrew Marr this morning, Varadkar compared it to a Primary School spat and pointed out that diplomats are often seated in alphabetical order.

Whether you're a jubilant leaver or a saddened Remainer, it's worth noting that the UK is 5/1 to rejoin the EU by 2026.

UK - Referendums: UK - Referendums (Year of Next Scottish Ind. Referendum)

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Tuesday 31 December, 11.59pm

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