Boris planning new drive to crush SNP and save the Union from Scottish independence
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This publication has learnt the PM will join his Scottish counterpart Douglas Ross at the Scottish Conservatives party conference next weekend to address the increasing support in Scottish independence. But in a less aggressive and defensive tone, the PM is expected to say that cooperation is extremely important due to the coronavirus pandemic and will call for a civil and “tuneful” relationship with Nicola Sturgeon and SNP ministers.
Officials hope the strategy will start to see a change amongst Scottish voting behaviour as predictions say the SNP is set to win a large majority at next year’s Holyrood elections.
YouGov’s latest research puts support for Scotland leaving the UK at 51 percent with 49 percent wanting the country to remain in the union.
This is the latest in 12 polls which show support for Scottish independence sits around 54-55 percent on average.
YouGov’s sample of 1,089 adults in Scotland which also asked about voting intention for next year’s Scottish Parliament elections put the SNP on 56 percent for the constituency vote and 47 percent for the regional list.
Meanwhile, the Scottish Conservatives stood at 19 percent and 20 percent respectively, while Scottish Labour were on 15 percent and 13 percent.
In an online post accompanying the figures, YouGov’s Adam McDonnell said: “If next May’s Scottish elections reflect these figures, the SNP would be on course for a comfortable majority, increasing its number of seats at Holyrood.”
A Whitehall source told Express.co.uk said Mr Johnson will seek a softer relationship with Nicola Sturgeon in this respect.
They added: “At this time it’s pivotal to focus on the pandemic but we note the increasing support for independence.
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“A change in tone is needed to ensure everyone is on the same page but we also need to make the Scottish people aware of the benefits of staying in the UK.”
Tensions, however, have risen with Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross after he said the recent surge in support for independence was because of Mr Johnson’s electoral stance, especially on Brexit.
The Scottish Tories are hoping for further cooperation with Mr Johnson following the conference which officials say could also “heal wounds” between Edinburgh and London.
Mr Ross said: “You can’t say people are absolutely wrong with their ratings on various leaders.
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“We have to reflect on that, and the Prime Minister reflects on that.
“He gets those opinion polls, too.
“He is not blind to opinion in Scotland.
“I’m not going to paint this more flowery than it is.
“You cannot get away from those kinds of figures.
“But you can look at them and address the issues behind them.
“Trust has broken down and when it does we see time and time again popular opinion siding with their devolved representatives.”
The SNP this afternoon dismissed the approach saying a change of tune “would not change” voters impressions.
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