Boris Johnson to 'draft new strategy' to halt Nicola Sturgeon’s Scottish independence bid

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Top ministers are exploring tactics to avoid a second Scottish independence referendum, after recent polls indicated surging support for a split from the UK. The plan has been outlined in a memo circulated to Government ministers, including Michael Gove, Bloomberg reports.

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The document is understood to have been drafted by Hanbury, a political consultancy firm, that is exploring tactics to delay a Scottish vote if Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP wins big in next May’s elections.

It states continuing to dismiss the First Minister’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.

A source familiar with the memo said a group was coming together to work on the issue. 

Boris Johnson to 'draft new strategy' to halt Nicola Sturgeon’s Scottish independence bid

Boris Johnson is planning a strategy to counter rising support for Scottish independence (Image: Getty)

Boris Johnson to 'draft new strategy' to halt Nicola Sturgeon’s Scottish independence bid

Nicola Sturgeon has been pushing for a second Scottish independence referendum (Image: Getty)

It is understood the document has not been commissioned directly from 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.

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.

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Boris Johnson to 'draft new strategy' to halt Nicola Sturgeon’s Scottish independence bid

Nicola Sturgeon has repeatedly called for a second Scottish referendum (Image: Getty)

The report 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.”

It comes after a bombshell poll found a record number of Scots backing independence.

The Ipsos MORI poll found 58 percent of Scots would vote yes to leave the UK, with just 42 percent opposed.

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Boris Johnson to 'draft new strategy' to halt Nicola Sturgeon’s Scottish independence bid

Nicola Sturgeon was a leading voice in the 2014 referendum campaign (Image: Getty)

When the “don’t knows” were included 55 percent would back independence versus 39 percent who want to remain in the UK.

Reacting to the new poll Ms Sturgeon tweeted: “To my fellow SNP members – this level of support is hard earned but mustn’t be taken for granted.

“Stay focussed & independence will follow – I’ve never been more certain.

“But our, my, immediate responsibility is to lead Scotland through COVID – right now, nothing matters more.”

Boris Johnson to 'draft new strategy' to halt Nicola Sturgeon’s Scottish independence bid

The results of a recent poll indicate Scots would vote for independence (Image: Express)

In 2014 Scotland voted by 55 percent to 45 percent to remain part of the UK.

Ahead of the vote it was described as a “once in a lifetime opportunity”.

But Nicola Sturgeon has repeatedly called for a re-run.


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