Alex Salmond: Brexit Could Mean Scottish Independence Referendum in Two Years

Alex Salmond
Alex Salmond in Aberdeen, Scotland, May 8, 2015. Salmond has said a Brexit could trigger a Scottish independence referendum within two years. Cathal McNaughton/Reuters

Alex Salmond has said that Britain leaving the European Union could trigger a Scottish independence referendum within two years.

Speaking to the AFP, the former SNP First Minister of Scotland said: "I think the referendum will be a damn close-run thing."

"Nicola Sturgeon said if we get dragged out of Europe against our will that would be the change in material circumstances that could lead to another referendum.

"So I think if that circumstance came about there will be an out referendum, it will occur within the two years period."

The SNP won a third term of government in Scotland earlier this month on a manifesto that allows for an independence referendum to be called "if there is clear and sustained evidence that independence has become the preferred option of a majority of the Scottish people" or if there is a "significant and material change"" in circumstances.

Scotland leaving the European Union against the wishes of its voters could fulfil the second condition.

Salmond, who is now a Westminster MP, also called on Prime Minister David Cameron to make a less "negative" case for staying in the EU.

"The right campaign in order to engender the enthusiasm of Europe is to say: this is what we think Europe should be doing. This is the Europe we can build, the Europe we can seek," he said.