An unpublished plan has recommended that Prime Minister Boris Johnson create a new post in the UK Government Cabinet tasked with stopping the Union from breaking apart.
The details of a report by the former Scottish minister Lord Dunlop, which was submitted to the Prime Minister in November 2019, have been revealed in the Telegraph newspaper.
Lord Dunlop suggested creating a senior Cabinet post on par with the Foreign Secretary, Home Secretary and Chancellor to oversee “the functioning of the Union”.
The minister would work with and not replace the existing Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish secretaries.
“The First Minister of Scotland is thinking 24/7 ‘how do I advance the cause for separation’,” a source told the Telegraph. “You need someone senior in the UK Government devoting an equal amount of time to thinking how you strengthen the UK and make it flourish for the long term.”
At the moment the role of de facto First Minister of England who has worked alongside the devolved administrations on the Covid-19 pandemic has fallen to Michael Gove, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.
Boris Johnson himself has taken the title of Minister for the Union.
Lord Dunlop sits in the House of Lords on the Conservative benches. He was the Under-Secretary of State for Scotland and Northern Ireland between 2015 and 2017.
The most recent polls have put Scottish Independence on 47% for, 42% against and 10% undecided. Welsh independence is on 23% for, 52% against and 25% undecided.
The latest poll of Irish unification in Northern Ireland has yes on 42%, no on 47% and 11% undecided.