LONDON, April 26 (Reuters) - Scotland is likely to win self rule in the next few years while the economic divide between the international powerhouse of London and the rest of the United Kingdom will deepen, media tycoon Rupert Murdoch said on Sunday.
Murdoch, whose global media interests stretch from movies to newspapers that claim to turn elections, visited Scotland on the eve of the Sept. 18 independence referendum last year and praised the country of 5 million people for its lively debate.
Scots rejected independence in that referendum, but the Scottish National Party is now forecast to win the majority of Scotland’s seats in the United Kingdom’s May 7 election, potentially making it the third largest party in Westminster.
“Scots may be crazy or not wanting self rule, but who can deny right of self determination?” Murdoch, 84, wrote on his Twitter feed. “Feels inevitable over next few years.”
“UK already seems 2 countries, London and the rest!” he said.
Murdoch’s paternal grandparents were Scots who emigrated from Aberdeenshire in northeast Scotland to Australia in the 19th Century. He is executive chairman of News Corp, the New York-based owner of the Wall Street Journal and HarperCollins.
Murdoch’s political influence in Britain was once legendary and though the billionaire has said a phone hacking scandal was a blot on his reputation, he retains considerable clout through his stable of British newspapers.
He also cautioned Prime Minister David Cameron that a failure to win a majority in the 650-seat Westminster parliament for the Conservatives would lead to a challenge from within his party.
“Failure to win majority against either (Gordon) Brown in crisis or (Labour leader Ed) Miliband would mean chop for Cameron. Open talk today in party and press,” Murdoch said.
Cameron won 306 seats in the 2010 election, defeating then Labour prime minister Gordon Brown but failed to win an outright majority. Current polls indicate neither Cameron’s Conservatives nor Miliband’s opposition Labour Party will win a majority.
Murdoch’s guess for the election result? He said he thought the Conservatives would win 294 seats, Labour 265, the SNP 48 seats and Liberal Democrats 25.
“Scots probably will hold the balance,” Murdoch said.
A spokesman for News Corp did not immediately respond to request for comment on Murdoch’s remarks. (Editing by Andrew Osborn)