LONDON, Feb 23 (Reuters) - The Scottish government is increasingly convinced it can win a new independence referendum and is thinking very seriously about calling one next year as Britain exits the European Union, an advisor to the devolved Edinburgh government said on Thursday.
Scotland voted overwhelmingly to stay inside the EU at last June's referendum, but Britain as a whole voted to leave and British Prime Minister Theresa May has said she plans to trigger the start of the Brexit process by the end of March.
"I believe the Scottish government is thinking very, very seriously about going for an independence referendum next year," said Charles Grant, an advisor to the Scottish government's Standing Council on Europe.
"They feel they have enough emotion and momentum to overcome the economic downsides... the harder the Brexit, the more likely they are to break away."
Scots rejected independence by a 10 point margin in a 2014 referendum.
Reporting Marc Jones and John Geddie in London and Elisabeth O'Leary in Edinburgh