Westminster PLOT to ‘modernise’ constitution in bid to HALT Scottish independence

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Mr Gove told the House of Commons Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee “we do need to look at every part” of the current constitutional arrangement “to make sure that it is fit for purpose”. The Cabinet Office Minister made clear the UK was “stronger together” as a new poll by Survation found 52 percent of Scots would vote for Scotland to become an independent country.

The UK Government is boosting its PR and policy strategy in a bid to increase the profile of the Union and part of this will involve a new team in the Cabinet Office led by Mr Gove to counter significant backing of the SNP led administration in Scotland.

The strategy, expected to be fully unveiled in the New Year is expected to include measures which focus on the centralisation of power at Westminster rather than further devolution.

A Whitehall source told Express.co.uk: “The PM has made clear another divisive independence vote is not needed.

“We are responding to how to strengthen the Union and keep the United Kingdom together.”

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Mr Gove made clear work was ongoing in government looking at “how to improve the way the UK Government works with all the administrations in the UK”.

In response, Joanna Cherry, the SNP justice spokesperson urged her party colleagues not to have faith in Boris Johnson allowing a second independence referendum after saying he would turn it down earlier this year.

Ms Cherry called for more efforts to be put into pursuing whether another ballot could be held without consent from Number 10, as it has never been tested in the courts.

She claimed a vote could be held without Westminster’s and hinted the case could end up in the UK Supreme Court.

She added: “If they found the bill to be within competence, then we would have a lawful referendum. And one which would be hard for Unionists to boycott.”

But Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross indicated the party would try to boycott a consultative, non-binding referendum organised by the Scottish Parliament even if one was ruled legal by a court.

A Party spokesman said: “No. The last thing that Scotland needs is another divisive independence referendum.

“The top priorities of the Scottish Conservatives and people across Scotland are fighting the pandemic, saving jobs and rebuilding Scotland stronger after this crisis.

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Keith Brown, SNP depute leader, added: “Once again, a poll shows that independence is becoming the settled will of the people of Scotland, now with 16 polls in a row showing majority support.

“With reports today that Douglas Ross would try to boycott a referendum, he is continuing to run away from democracy.

“It shows how scared the Tories are of the verdict of the people but this Trump-like denial of democracy will not stand with the people of Scotland.

“The polls also continue to show that people trust the SNP in government to deliver for Scotland.”

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