Friday, 26 Feb 2021

Stop Sturgeon! Boris urged to defeat SNP independence bid through new ministerial role

Nicola Sturgeon 'hoarding' UK funding claims Miklinski

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A report from former Scottish Minister Lord Dunlop was submitted to the Prime Minister in November 2019, and recommended a Union Minister as a new “great office of state”. The report has not yet been published, but the role would attempt to preserve the United Kingdom in the face of Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP calling for an independence referendum.

Lord Dunlop suggested the role, which he said would be titled Secretary of State for Intergovernmental and Constitutional Affairs, is designed to be given to one of the “big beasts” in Cabinet.

He suggested the position needs to be on par with the Foreign Office, Treasury and Home Office to legitimise it’s seniority.

The proposed Secretary would take charge leading interactions with the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, in addition to overseeing the United Kingdom.

Lord Dunlop stressed however the role would not replace existing positions or override the Prime Minister’s position as minister of the Union.

The report was commissioned by former Prime Minister Theresa May shortly before she left Downing Street, but is still unpublished 15 months later.

“The Telegraph reported the key criticism of Lord Dunlop’s report is that focus on keeping the Union together is pushed aside in Westminster’

A source familiar with the report said: “The First Minister of Scotland is thinking 24/7 ‘how do I advance the cause for separation’.

“You need someone senior in the UK Government devoting an equal amount of time to thinking how you strengthen the UK and make it flourish for the long term.”

It comes as another poll showed a majority of Scottish people support independence, marking the 21st consecutive survey to record the result.

A Savanta ComRes poll, carried out for the Scotsman, showed 47 percent of respondents said Scotland should be an independent country, with 42 percent opposed.

The poll was carried out between February 4 and February 9, and saw 1002 adults aged 16 or over surveyed.

The poll also found Ms Sturgeon’s SNP are set to win a landslide in May’s Holyrood elections.

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Sinn Fein has also begun calling for a referendum to unite Ireland in the wake of Brexit trade issues.

In January a poll from Lucidtalk for The Sunday Times showed 47 percent still want to remain in the UK, with 42 percent in favour of a united Ireland and a significant proportion — 11 per cent — undecided.

However, asked if they supported a referendum on a united Ireland within the next five years, 51 per cent said yes compared to 44 per cent who were against.

Lucidtalk polled 2,392 people in Northern Ireland aged 16 and over between January 15th and 18th.

Mr Johnson recently pledged to defend the UK with a “union army”, with Scotland’s Constitution Secretary Michael Russell saying a draft bill paving the way for indyref2 would be published within the next six weeks before the Scottish elections.

Freedom of Information (FOI) requests revealed Boris Johnson and Tory ministers are spending hundreds of thousands of pounds on new staff for its “Union Unit” to defend increasing support for Scottish independence.

Figures seen by this website reveal Whitehall officials were spending £110,000-£114,999 on a salary for new Union Unit chief Oliver Lewis.

The former Vote Leave staffer took over the new role this month after Luke Graham parted ways with No10.

The FOI requests also reveal £80,000 was spent on a salary for Jack Sellers, a Union Unit special adviser who works jointly with the Wales Office, and a further £280,000+ spent for at least four new “heads of role” posts in Michael Gove’s Union Directorate will also be hired with an average salary of between £64,500 and £70,877.

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