What is the feeling in Scotland as the country prepares to head to the polls for the fifth time in six years?

Allegra Stratton

Former National Editor

  • Video report by ITV News National Editor Allegra Stratton

We’ve been in Scotland for a few days and already I feel their pain: five polls in six years.

Each of these decisions, massive weighty decisions: the 2014 independence referendum; the 2015 general election; the 2016 Brexit referendum; the next general election in 2017; a brief respite in 2018; which brings us to now and our winter poll.

When you think that each of these votes will have divided families and friends, you understand why people we have spoken to are a bit fed up.

The received wisdom is that Scotland, like the Lib Dem attack, eats into Boris Johnson’s baseline in this election – that he will lose seats to an SNP advance just as he will lose seats to Lib Dems in Remain areas which are currently Tory.

However, after a few days on the north-east coast I don’t think it will.

Currently 35 of 59 seats in Scotland are SNP. Credit: ITV News

Banff and Buchan is the only constituency in Scotland that voted leave and it is not a surprise it did so.

The area is dominated by the port of Peterhead and those who work in the fishing industry became the poster boys and girls of Leave: some of their fishing boats were part of the flotilla that came down to Westminster.

It returned a Tory MP at the last election, one of the 13 many believed Boris Johnson will lose.

Now that the Brexit Party has declared it will not contest seats that are currently Conservative, I can see Banff and Buchan remaining blue.

Likely the SNP will do well – we did find their supporters and they will bring in a healthy amount of votes - but I sense it will stay Tory.

Then the other thing that came across loud and clear was fear of yet another vote – this time a 2020 Scottish independence referendum.

Which party will triumph in Scotland? Credit: ITV News

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon could get this if Labour is the largest party in any hung Parliament and part of her price for supporting Jeremy Corbyn is a second independence referendum.

Recent polling has suggested an increase in support for independence in the light of the torturous Brexit negotiations in a country that voted 62% to remain.

But again, there are Tory held constituencies in the north-east we visited - like Angus - but also down in the borders - like Berwick Roxburgh and Selkirk - where they are fiercely pro-union and worried about another push for independence.

In Arbroath next year they celebrate the 700th anniversary of the declaration of Arbroath: they call the area the birthplace of Scotland because it was here that Scottish Lords declared independence from England.

Banff and Buchan is the only constituency in Scotland that voted leave. Credit: ITV News

Even down the road from here we spoke to an influential business owner who said that he thought the Brexit negotiations have shown the Scots how complicated and tense Scottish independence negotiations would be.

“Look at the talks over the Irish border and the so-called Irish backstop… we would have all of that to look forward to," he said.

That’s not to say there isn’t support for Nicola Sturgeon nor that she won’t pick up seats: her party went down to 35 at the last election, but most expect her to pick up at least 10.

However, it is hard to see how Sturgeon could climb back up to the near full house (56 out of 59) she had after the 2015 election, in part because of the spectre of two referendums: some seats wanting Brexit and some seats fearing Independence.

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