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British voters back Scotland split: poll

world Updated: Oct 16, 2011 11:36 IST

A simple majority of British voters outside Scotland back Scottish independence from the United Kingdom, a poll published on Sunday found.

The ComRes poll for The Independent on Sunday and Sunday Mirror newspapers showed that support for Scotland going it alone has risen sharply in recent months.

Some 39% of adults in England, Wales and Northern Ireland thought Scotland should become an independent state -- up six points since May -- while 38% disagree.

Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond's Scottish National Party (SNP), which advocates independence, wants to put the matter to a referendum towards the end of the five-year term his party won in May.

A spokesman for the Scotland Office, the British government ministry dealing with Scottish affairs, said Salmond's Edinburgh government had "yet to put any detail on its plans for independence to the people of Scotland".

"We will continue to demand they do so, while at the same time making the strong and positive case for (Scotland) remaining part of the United Kingdom."

SNP campaigns director Angus Robertson said the poll showed there was significant support in Scotland and England "for our nations having a new relationship of equality as two independent countries, sharing a head of state and working together as partners in Europe".

Meanwhile, the opposition Labour Party are ahead in the polls, on 39%, with Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservatives on 37%, Deputy PM Nick Clegg's Liberal Democrats on 10% and other parties on 14%, the ComRes poll found.

Some 30% said they trusted Cameron and his finance minister George Osborne to make the right decisions about the economy, while 49% disagreed.

For Labour's top team, the respective figures were 18% and 55%.

Some 34% thought Cameron was turning out to be a good premier, with 47% disagreeing.

ComRes surveyed 2,004 British adults online on Wednesday and Thursday.