Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Michael Gove in talks with George Galloway to discuss protecting the United Kingdom against Scottish independence

Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove.
Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove.

Michael Gove has been in talks with George Galloway to discuss how to protect the UK against rising support for Scottish independence, it has emerged.

The discussions were held shortly after Mr Galloway launched his Alliance for Unity party, which aims to take on the SNP.

Senior figures in Boris Johnson’s government have also been in touch with former Labour first minister Lord McConnell to discuss the UK internal market.

And it has been reported that Mr Gove has been in touch with the former Inverness, Badenoch and Strathspey Lib Dem MP Danny Alexander, who was chief secretary to the Treasury in David Cameron’s coalition government.

It is understood the talks have been held on an informal basis but they come at a time when Mr Gove, who is from Aberdeen, has been given greater responsibility for defending the Union.

George Galloway.

Mr Gove sought to “sound out” Mr Galloway and reports suggested they discussed strategy. The Cabinet Office Minister has also held a number of conversations with Scottish pro-Union politicians from a variety of parties in the last six months, as support for independence has grown.

This week a Panelbase poll put support for leaving the UK at a record 55%, while another, for ComRes, put independence backing at 54%.

At first glance, an alliance between Mr Gove and Mr Galloway, the socialist former Labour MP and current broadcaster on Kremlin-backed RT, would appear to be an unlikely one. But Mr Galloway was a prominent No supporter during the 2014 independence referendum, appearing on the debating stage with Ruth Davidson.

This week Mr Gove and Mr Galloway appeared to be in agreement about the possibility of extending the indyref2 franchise to 795,000 Scots based elsewhere in the UK.

Mr Gove tweeted “interesting question” when the idea was raised by Mr Galloway.

SNP Depute Leader Keith Brown said: “Michael Gove now appears to accept a referendum is going to happen – but the fact he seems to be endorsing anything George Galloway says is the surest sign yet of the rising panic in Downing Street at the surging support for independence.

“Mr Gove is already on record as saying ‘it wouldn’t be fair’ to change the franchise rules for a second referendum, and the 2014 vote, based on residency, set the gold standard.

“And he must be really desperate if he hopes to find inspiration from an unelected lord and a Lib Dem who was Scots Secretary for all of two weeks.”

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]

More from the Press and Journal Scottish politics team

More from the Press and Journal