THE head of the Scottish Government's group on sectarianism has warned of the issue of the 'legitimacy' of the Brexit vote threatens the stability of the Ulster Peace Process.

Dr Duncan Morrow said there was an "additional and automatic danger of areas of deep historic division like Northern Ireland" as the EU Referendum exposes deep fissures across the United Kingdom.

Writing in today's Herald, the academic and former head of the Northern Ireland Community Relations Council, said at the same time as Brexit again raised the issue of independence in Scotland it "potentially runs a coach and horses through the painstaking compromises of the Good Friday Agreement".

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Dr Morrow said: "Brexit does not have the same effect on different parts of the UK.

"For Scotland it has raised the question of independence. In Northern Ireland it reopens the question of the border, especially if the outcome is to reintroduce checkpoints or customs controls. The UK government has made clear that the UK should act as a whole.

"But Nicola Sturgeon has already said that Scotland cannot be bound automatically by an English majority to leave the EU.

"Northern Ireland is in the strange place that the majority voted to Remain but the largest party supports leave. At the same time, however, Sinn Fein have raised the possibility of an Irish border poll which always carries risks of instability and escalation.

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"At the very least Brexit emphasises the differences in the UK rather than the similarities. At the worst the risk is that tensions which have been managed over the last twenty years by international co-operation become more difficult. And all of these issues will have to be dealt with within two years once Article 50 is triggered."

Dr Morrow was appointed to lead on the Scottish Government's group on sectarianism four years ago. Subsequent reports have concluded that religious bigotry in Scotland neither stems from nor is the responsibility of denominational schooling, while football authorities and clubs should. face sanctions for failing to address sectarian behaviour if the problem is to be tackled

The reports have also called for a better understanding of "polite, educated forms of sectarianism" within Scottish professional life, as well as a new perspective on the history of Scotland.

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In his column, Dr Morrow says: "Northern Ireland has always neatly illustrated the point: it is not just getting a majority that counts in democracy. "There is always a prior question of ‘the majority of what and who?’, UK, Scotland, Ireland, Northern Ireland, City of Derry/Londonderry? Who is the ‘we’ that matters here?"