Nick Clegg has warned that the “clock is now ticking” on “the end of the United Kingdom”.
The former Lib Dem leader and deputy prime minister said that the break-up of the Union was now “more likely than not” due to the handling of Brexit.
Mr Clegg, who left politics to join Facebook in 2018 as the corporation’s head of global affairs and communications, made the intervention as both Tory leadership candidates continued to step up their rhetoric around a no-deal Brexit on October 31.
Mr Clegg, speaking to the New Statesman, said: “The Brexit demon has unleashed such an aggressive and regressive right-wing English nationalism, the Conservative Party is converting itself into an English nationalist party.”
Orkney and Shetland MP Alistair Carmichael, who served as Scottish secretary in the coalition government with Mr Clegg, agreed that the Union was at risk but did not share his former colleague’s pessimism.
He said: “The Union between Scotland and the rest of the UK is a precious thing that you don’t play fast and loose with.
“The truth of the matter is that the Tories have been doing that for years, you see the polling, I think it was 60% of Tory members said that the breakup of the Union would a be a price worth paying for Brexit, that’s cray.
“It does show just how far removed Ruth Davidson and her colleagues are from the little Englanders in Downing Street.”
Pressed on whether he agreed with Mr Clegg’s language, he said: “I don’t share his judgement, I don’t think that we are there yet.
“I think the lesson that most people are drawing in Scotland from Brexit is just how difficult and messy it gets when you start to unpick political and economic unions.
“If it’s difficult to break up a union that you’ve been part of for 40 years, what an earth would it be like to break up a union that has stood for 300 years.”