JOHN Bercow has said it must be left up to Scotland to decide its own future.

The former speaker was asked about independence at an event in Edinburgh to promote his new book.

He said that support for a Yes vote will “exponentially rise” if Boris Johnson continues to deny Holyrood requests for a Section 30 order to hold indyref2.

According to The Herald, he said: “I think it will be quite interesting to see whether over a sustained period – let’s say two or three years – there is evidence of a majority of people in Scotland definitely wanting that further referendum, and/or definitely wanting Scottish independence.

“If that happens, it just seems to me that although legally a government might be able to resist, sometimes legal facts can clash with political reality.

“My view, by the way, for what it’s worth on Scottish independence is simply that ultimately, if you believe in sovereignty, if you believe in self-government, if you believe in the right of people to choose their own destiny, it has to be up to Scotland ultimately to decide. At the point at which they do, I think that decision has to be respected.”

Bercow identified a “very real” divide between Holyrood and Westminster.

He highlighted the irony in “an avowedly, explicitly, robustly Unionist Government, made up of the Conservative and Unionist Party, is in charge at a time when the strength of the UK has looked more precarious than for a long time, and the danger of it being ripped asunder [is] greater than for a long time”.

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The ex-Tory MP said arguments for a second referendum based on a material change in circumstances were undeniable.

He commented: “The Prime Minister is perfectly entitled to say ad nauseum to Ian Blackford and his SNP colleagues and Nicola Sturgeon, ‘Look you had your referendum on independence in 2014, we agreed it was once in a generation, you lost, we won, be quiet.’ “Legally, he’s entitled to say that. However, there’s one very important caveat.

“I’ve never championed Scottish independence and I’m not here to do that. Nor am I here to argue against it – I’m not here for that purpose at all.

“What I would say is this: it's important to be fair about this.

“At the time it was agreed it would be once in a generation, subject to one very important caveat – unless there was a material change.

“Ladies and gentlemen, it’s very hard to argue that there hasn’t been a change.”

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The former speaker, who served in the role until last year, pointed out that Scots had been told to vote No to preserve their European Union status, “and that's no longer to be the case".

He said it is "absolutely predictable that support in Scotland for Scottish independence, and certainly for indyref2, will exponentially rise" if Johnson decides to "bunker down and just repeat that line over and over again".

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Asked about the possibility of Scotland gaining sovereignty via an alternative method to indyref2, Bercow stated it is “perfectly possible at some stage … that if people in Scotland feel that they are being arbitrarily and unreasonably prevented from having a referendum that they obviously want, they might decide to hold a ballot of their own even if it’s not authorised by Westminster”.

Though he warned this would not be legally binding, he believes it would be “very significant indeed” politically.

Bercow added: “It would change the facts on the ground. I’m not arguing for that, but I think that’s not out of the bounds of possibility.”

The former MP was speaking in the capital to promote his new book, Unspeakable.