Tony Blair today warned that Britain quitting the EU would also end in Scotland leaving the United Kingdom.
The former Labour prime minister admitted he is ‘very worried’ about the result and consequences of the upcoming EU referendum, which could be as early as June.
Speaking in Paris he said that a vote to leave would certainly spark a second vote on Scottish independence, which he believes would also end the Union.
In an interview on French radio station Europe 1, Mr Blair said: ‘There is a little-noticed dimension which is that, in my opinion, if the UK votes to leave Europe, Scotland will vote to leave the UK. It is extremely serious for Great Britain.’
When he was in power Mr Blair was said to have reservations about devolution to Scotland in case it led to the break-up of the Union.
The last referendum in 2014 ended in a narrow victory for the Better Together campaign but the former Labour leader believes a new vote would lead to an independent Scotland.
The SNP have repeatedly insisted Scotland should be pulled out of the European Union by a eurosceptic English electorate.
Responding to Mr Blair’s comments, Scottish National Party Europe spokesman Stephen Gethins said: ‘If Scotland is taken out of the EU against its will then obviously there will have been a fundamental breakdown in what should be a partnership of nations and it is highly likely that this would trigger an overwhelming demand for a second Scottish independence referendum.’
SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has said that if Britain left the EU a second referendum would be ‘unstoppable’.
The Scottish first minister has said that trying to scare voters into backing the status quo – which she branded ‘project fear’ – will fail.
Speaking on the BBC One Andrew Marr programme on Sunday, Ms Sturgeon said: ‘While there are differences between the Scottish campaign and a European referendum, there are undoubtedly analogies and if the In campaign behaves the way the No campaign behaved in the Scottish referendum I fear it will lose.
‘In the Scottish referendum the two campaigns started miles apart in the polls, we had a thoroughly negative, fear-laden campaign from the No campaign, which almost lost.
‘In the EU referendum the two campaigns are much closer to start with and if the In campaign falls into the trap of the No campaign, I fear it will lose.’
It came as the ballot paper for the historic EU referendum was unveiled for the first time today.
Britain’s future membership will be determined by tens of millions of voters filling in one box with a simple black cross.
They will be asked ‘Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union’.
Voters will choose between answers reading ‘Remain a member of the European Union’ or ‘Leave the European Union’.
The wording of the question was a subject of hot debate and the Government was forced to amend it while the legislation for the referendum was going through Parliament.
The proposed form is shown in draft regulations laid before Parliament on the conduct of the national poll, one part of the legislation which must be approved at least ten weeks before the UK is asked to decide whether to remain in the EU.
There are also hints the referendum could be held on June 23 to avoid a clash with Home Nation matches at Euro 2016 in France.
England, Wales and Northern Ireland have all qualified for the tournament and holding it on matchday would damage turnout.