Lord Frost who said Wales and Scotland not nations set for senior constitutional role in Liz Truss government
A peer who said that Wales and Scotland were not nations, the UK should become a “unitary state” with devolution “evolved back”, and independence should be made “impossible”, is set for a senior constitutional role in Liz Truss’ government.
Lord Frost is tipped to head up the Cabinet Office under Liz Truss, who will – barring a large upset – be announced as the new Prime Minister on Monday.
However Senior Scottish Tories have already expressed that the powerful role could undermine the Union, as the Cabinet Office is currently responsible for political and constitutional reform.
One leading Scottish Tory told the Times newspaper that Lord Frosts’ more “macho unionism” could “drive voters into the hands of the nationalists at a moment when they are becalmed”.
“The whole Union strategy — and it has boxed in the SNP — has been to stop the soft centre drifting towards independence. This sort of rhetoric endangers that.”
Lord Frost had raised eyebrows earlier this month when, writing in the Telegraph, he said that the devolved governments were “subordinate” to Westminster and that the UK Government needed to change how it discussed them.
He that a referendum on independence should “simply be impossible”, with a bar of 75 per cent of seats in the devolved parliament being in favour of independence, over an entire decade.
He said that letting part of the UK go would be a “massive national humiliation” and “morally wrong”.
“The new government can start by changing its language,” Lord Frost said.
“Somehow we have all drifted into speaking as if this country were already a confederation made up of four ‘nations’ that have chosen to work together (but could equally choose differently). When we think like that, we end up having to constantly justify the existence of our country, on a purely transactional basis.
“But the UK is a unitary state, not a federation or a confederation. Both the 1707 and 1801 Acts of Union fused the participants into one state in which all were equal, first ‘Great Britain’, then the ‘United Kingdom’, with one sovereign legal personality and one Parliament and government.
“For all the noise, that is still the case.” He added: “Moreover, if you are a citizen of that unitary state, you are British.”
He added that the UK Government needed “to act” to stop devolved “mission creep”.
“The devolved administrations do not have powers in foreign relations or immigration – they are ‘reserved matters’,” he said.
“If the UK government does not police these boundaries, soon they will no longer exist.
“Meanwhile, I urge people in England not to give in to the ‘let them go’ argument. Partly because the break-up of the country would be a massive national humiliation. In Europe and beyond, it would be seen as a comeuppance which they would exploit to the full.
“But, more importantly, because it is morally wrong. Supporters of the Union in Scotland, people who have built their lives and families on the assumption of its permanence, should not be abandoned. The UK is everyone’s country and we must protect and support it.”
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