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.

Boris Johnson to fore on union strategy as polls predict SNP majority

Boris Johnson union
Secretary of State for Scotland Alister Jack and Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Boris Johnson is set to take a leading role in shaping Number 10’s strategy to save the union, amid polls indicating the SNP are on course for an outright majority at May’s Holyrood election.

Downing Street have confirmed a new “union cabinet committee“, led by the prime minister, will take charge of strategy after the ill-fated “union unit” lost two bosses in three weeks.

As we reported earlier this month, the union unit has been folded into a Cabinet Office “union directorate” run by the civil service.

The prime minister’s new Cabinet committee will “build on” the work carried out by Michael Gove’s “union policy implementation committee” formed last year, Number 10 have said.

Brexit fishing quota
Minister for the Cabinet Office Michael Gove.

Mr Gove, along with Chancellor Rishi Sunak, Brexit minister David Frost and the secretaries of state for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will all attend the committee, which will meet “regularly”.

Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross and the party’s Holyrood leader, Ruth Davidson, will not be invited to attend, but Number 10 said there may be occasions “when others are required at the meeting”.

‘Tories are in turmoil’

The SNP’s deputy Westminster leader, Kirsten Oswald, labelled the changes “shambolic”, adding: “The reality is that no amount of rebranding or merging can take away from the fact the Tories are in turmoil and their anti-independence campaign in disarray.”

Scotland Office minister Iain Stewart dismissed suggestions Number 10 was in “disarray” on the union, telling MPs: “I know these sort of staff changes excite a lot of political commentators, but the the government’s commitment to the union is undiminished and unchanged.”

The row came as a new opinion poll showed support for independence now stands at 52%.

Great expectations: Would big SNP election victory spring indyref2 trap for Nicola Sturgeon?

The poll for Ipsos MORI/STV News showed in the constituency vote, 52% are likely to vote SNP, with 23% backing the Tories, 15% supporting Labour and the Lib Dems on 5%.

According to STV News, the poll projects the SNP will win 72 seats – a majority – with the Tories trailing on 26 seats, Labour on 17, the Greens on nine and the Lib Dems on five.

Asked about which, if any, issues will be very important in helping decide which party to vote for, 44% said independence and 32% said education.

Emily Gray, managing director of Ipsos MORI Scotland, said: “At this point the SNP look on course to win a majority of seats, but the next few weeks are set to be challenging for the party, with the Salmond inquiry ongoing.”

‘Damaging and divisive independence referendum’

A Scottish Tory spokesman said: “At the same stage in 2016, the polls put us on lower numbers than these, but we stopped an SNP majority. As Scotland’s largest opposition party, we can do so again in May’s election.

“Pro-UK voters know we are the only party with the strength and determination to stop another damaging and divisive independence referendum.

“Only the Scottish Conservatives can prevent an SNP majority, stop indyref2 and get the Scottish Parliament 100% focused on rebuilding Scotland.”

Already a subscriber? Sign in



More from the Press and Journal UK politics team

More from the Press and Journal