Tory campaign strategist Lynton Crosby pushed for Scottish independence vote before Brexit

Posted On: 
26th June 2017

Conservative election strategist Lynton Crosby urged Theresa May to hold a fresh Scottish independence referendum ahead of Brexit, it has been revealed.

Lynton Crosby was knighted by Prince Charles after winning the 2015 election for the Tories
Anthony Devlin/PA Archive/PA Images

The Tory adviser said the Prime Minister should “harness the uncertainty” of Britain’s EU withdrawal for an easy win in Scotland, according to a memo leaked to The Times.

Just yesterday a report surfaced that Nicola Sturgeon would scrap the SNP plan to hold a second poll on independence within the next two years – three months after she demanded exactly that.

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When she first announced in March that she wanted a new referendum before Brexit is complete, Sir Lynton sent a memo to figures in CCHQ arguing the uncertainty would keep Scotland in the union.

“While it may seem sensible to delay a referendum until after Brexit negotiations are complete this is not necessarily the best strategic position to adopt,” he wrote.

“Holding a referendum on independence before Brexit is complete will mean that voters have to grapple with the uncertainty of the outcome of Brexit in addition to the uncertainty of their choice in the referendum.

“Delaying the referendum until after Brexit is complete removes one of these unknowns.”

He said a Brexit outcome that dissatisfied Scots could “easily result in Scotland voting for independence”.

But Mrs May clearly rejected the advice, announcing two days later that Ms Sturgeon’s two-year referendum timetable would be rejected.

In a statement to MSPs this week the Scottish First Minister is expected to row back on her demand but keep open the prospect of a new poll after two years.

Sir Lynton headed up the Conservative campaign that lost Mrs May her majority at the recent general election.

The SNP lost 21 seats from its 2015 tally on 8 June, including the high-profile scalps of Alex Salmond and Angus Robertson.

The result was a direct blow to Ms Sturgeon’s agitating for another Scottish independence vote.