Will Brexit break up the UK?

Now that the British parliament has approved the Brexit bill the UK's departure from the EU - with all its consequences - is drawing closer. The Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon's plans to hold a new referendum on Scottish independence and the hypothetical possibility of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland reuniting prompt the press to speculate on whether the UK is on the brink of disintegration.

Open/close all quotes
The Guardian (GB) /

Scottish nationalists should be patient

As long as Britain remains an EU member, Spain, which also has minorities who are striving for independence, would seek to prevent the EU accession of an independent Scotland, The Guardian believes:

“If [the Scots] are patient, and wait for Brexit before leaving the UK, they will have a far better chance of a quick return to the EU. Unlike other applicants, Scotland's laws already meet all the necessary requirements. And Spain would gain very little from making life difficult for a country that became legally independent outside the EU. Scotland should wait for Brexit and then rebel. That would provoke glee on the other side of the Channel, with the break-up of the UK serving as a dramatic warning to other EU member states about the dangers of leaving. Indeed, if it waits, Scotland should expect to be cheered back into Europe.”

Irish Examiner (IE) /

Ireland couldn't afford reunification

Brexit may be an opportunity for the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland to reunify but the costs would be too high, The Irish Examiner comments:

“Brexit, and a hard border despite the North's Remain vote of 55.77%, combined with London's barely-disguised indifference to the consequences for Ireland, north or south, make it easy to argue that the North's economic interests would be best served in a united Ireland. ... There would also be the cost. Each year, Britain subsidises the North to the tune of €12bn. ... If it is impossible to see how that largesse will be sustained by a post-Brexit Britain, it is even more difficult to see how even an all-island economy could do so. Imagine if one of the first tasks of a 32-county government was to axe public services supported by Westminster?”