House of Commons ‘could go on tour to Scotland’ as part of Boris Johnson’s plans to boost the Union and see off Nicola Sturgeon’s independence push as PM ‘prepares to categorically rule out a second referendum on splitting up the UK’
- Ministers considering plan to relocate Commons two weeks every September
- Would see the Commons rotate between Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales
- Supporters of the plan believe it would help deliver a boost to the Union
- Could be part of Boris Johnson’s wider plan to stop Scottish independence push
- PM expected to use speech on Sunday to categorically rule out second vote
The House of Commons could go on tour to Scotland as part of the Government’s plan to boost the Union and see off Nicola Sturgeon’s independence push, it was claimed today.
Jacob Rees-Mogg, the Commons Leader, is said to be pushing a proposal which would see MPs relocate for two weeks every September.
Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales would take it in turns every year to host the Commons, with the two weeks falling between the end of the summer recess and the start of the party conference break.
The initiative is reportedly being considered by the Government as part of Boris Johnson’s wider strategy to strengthen ties within the UK.
Meanwhile, Mr Johnson is expected to use a speech to the Scottish Conservative Party conference on Sunday to categorically rule out holding a second independence referendum – even if the SNP win a majority at the Holyrood elections in May.
Boris Johnson and his ministers are trying to come up with ways to boost the Union. Jacob Rees-Mogg is said to be pushing a plan to relocate the House of Commons for two weeks every September
The plan would see the Commons rotate between Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland every year
The proposal is part of a wider push in Whitehall to combat Nicola Sturgeon’s independence drive
Ministers are increasingly focused on coming up with ways to strengthen the Union amid growing concerns in Whitehall over Ms Sturgeon’s attempts to break up the UK.
Mr Rees-Mogg has apparently discussed the proposal to temporarily relocate the Commons with Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle.
But Sir Lindsay is said to be unconvinced by the plan, according to The Daily Telegraph.
A source familiar with the proposal told the newspaper: ‘It would bring Parliament closer to the people.’
Relocating the Commons would require the sign off of Parliament, the Prime Minister and the devolved administrations.
The proposal is likely to be greeted with scepticism but it demonstrates the breadth of thinking currently taking place in the Government as ministers try to combat calls for independence.
It came as Mr Johnson prepares to deliver a speech to the Scottish Tory conference on Sunday in which he will reportedly double down on his opposition to holding a re-run of the 2014 independence referendum.
Ms Sturgeon has said that if the SNP wins a majority at the May elections she believes she will have a mandate for holding another border poll.
But a second vote can only go ahead if Mr Johnson gives it the green light – something he has repeatedly ruled out.
One Government source told The Daily Telegraph in relation to the PM’s speech this weekend: ‘Absolutely, now is not the time for a reckless independence referendum. We need to be pulling together.’
Another source said: ‘We’re not having a referendum in the middle of a pandemic.’
Some 51 per cent want to stay in the United Kingdom in research published this week by YouGov excluding those who were not sure – the reverse of the result it had in November
Ms Sturgeon’s independence push had received a boost in recent months after numerous polls suggested a majority of Scots backed breaking away from the UK.
But the race now appears to have narrowed after another poll this week found a majority of Scots oppose her independence drive.
Some 51 per cent wanted to stay in the UK in the research by YouGov excluding those who were not sure – the reverse of the result it had in November.
The YouGov poll is the latest in a line of surveys to identify a drop in backing for the SNP’s separatist agenda.
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