New strategy planned
Holyrood may get more powers to ‘halt indy surge’
A new strategy is planned to halt support for a split (pic: Terry Murden)
Boris Johnson is considering new powers for Scotland as part of a plan to counter rising support for Scottish independence, according to a leaked document.
The Prime Minister is examining recommendations from Hanbury, a political consultancy firm, as a succession of opinion polls indicate growing support for breaking up the UK.
The plan has been outlined in a memo circulated to Government ministers, says the news agency Bloomberg.
The document states that continuing to dismiss First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s calls for a second referendum would be “counterproductive”.
Possible measures to appease the Scottish government includes devolving more power over to Holyrood and ratifying a new settlement through a popular vote.
The SNP said the memo shows the Conservative government in Westminster is in “panic mode”.
A source familiar with the memo said a group was coming together to work on the issue.
It is understood the document has not been commissioned directly by the Government.
The document, seen by Bloomberg News, points out the pro-UK cause is on the back foot as Ms Sturgeon’s popularity has soared during the pandemic.
By contrast the Prime Minister and the Tory party have been steadily losing support in Scotland.
The report covers the state of play, voter and polling trends, a strategy for next year’s Scottish elections and what do to in the event of an SNP majority.
It states: “If the SNP builds on this momentum then the endpoint could be a full-blown constitutional crisis or a second independence referendum.
“Either of these outcomes would consume significant political capital for the Government.”
The latest poll by Ipsos MORI found 58% of Scots would vote to leave the UK.
The SNP’s Deputy Westminster leader Kirsten Oswald, said: “This leaked memo reveals that the Tories are in panic mode because people in Scotland know Boris Johnson’s government can’t be trusted to act in Scotland’s interests.
“The whole Westminster system is broken and it is time decisions about Scotland were taken by the people who live here.
“The Tory attempt to deny the right of the people of Scotland to decide their own future is completely unsustainable and undemocratic.”