The strategy document leaked on Monday revealed how Westminster could try to handle the rising issue of Scottish independence. The document prepared by Hanbury Strategy highlighted the “vacuum of leadership” within the unionist movement.
The memo summarises a potential strategy for Westminster in three steps: “New accommodation, new constitutional settlement, and cooperation rather than confrontation.”
It suggests the Prime Minister may need to offer the First Minister more powers to stave off a catastrophic break-up of the UK.
But, this afternoon, a Number 10 spokesperson said the issue of independence was settled when the “Scottish people voted decisively to remain part of a strong United Kingdom.”
The spokesperson added: “Both sides committed very clearly to respecting the decision in 2014 and the First Minister promised it would be a once-in-a-generation vote and the UK Government will continue to uphold that decisive decision.
“What we’re focused on is a strong UK-wide response to coronavirus and ensuring that all parts of the UK can build back better in response.”
The leaked memo also discusses various strategies which could be used to halt another independence vote should Nicola Sturgeon’s party win a majority next year in the Holyrood elections.
It warned: “If the SNP builds on this momentum, then the endpoint could be a full-blown constitutional crisis or a second independence referendum.
“Either of these outcomes would consume significant political capital for the government.”
Mr Fraser added: “Barely a debate or statement goes by in Holyrood without one of her ministers calling for independence.
“And, right across Scotland, prospective SNP candidates for Holyrood are busy selling themselves to the party membership on the basis of their enthusiasm for a separate Scotland.
“Last week Nicola Sturgeon condemned Prime Minister Boris Johnson for preparing for a no-deal Brexit, claiming she had ‘suspended’ her independence campaign because of COVID-19.
“This news will have come as a shock to observers of Scottish politics.
“It was, after all, just last month that the First Minister announced that she was asking civil servants to prepare a draft Bill for another independence referendum.”
He concluded by saying that a credible economic case for “leaving the Union remains as elusive as ever”.
In response, Kirsten Oswald MP, deputy Westminster leader of the SNP, said: “The Tory attempt to deny the right of the people of Scotland to decide their own future is completely unsustainable and undemocratic.
“This leaked memo reveals that the Tories are in panic mode because people in Scotland know Boris Johnson’s government can’t be trusted to act in Scotland’s interests.
“Scotland’s future should be in Scotland’s hands – not Boris Johnson’s.”
Hanbury Strategy has been approached for comment by Express.co.uk.