Tory leadership candidates undermining union with attacks on devolution warns Times newspaper
The Times newspaper has warned that the two candidates to become the leader of the Conservative party and Prime Minister are making a break up of the UK more likely due to their attacks on devolution.
In an editorial, the newspaper referred to new polls showing that the election of either Rishi Sunak or Liz Truss would take support for independence over the 50% threshold and that a Liz Truss premiership would boost support for independence in Wales from 25% to 30%.
The newspaper suggested that Liz Truss’ had been “reckless” and that her declaration that she would simply “ignore” the Scottish Government had given “the nationalists new ammunition with which to attack the UK government”.
“Dictating terms is a self-defeating tactic from Westminster politicians,” the Times said. “Demonstrating how the UK can make life better for Scots seems a far better way forward for the unionist cause.”
They added: “Asked recently how she would take on Ms Sturgeon, Ms Truss said she would ignore the first minister who was nothing more than ‘an attention seeker’. There may have been cheers from Conservative Party members at the hustings where Ms Truss spoke which will have been echoed at SNP headquarters.
“The favourite to win, after all, had given the nationalists new ammunition with which to attack the UK government.”
It demonstrated that unionist politicians “continue to struggle to articulate to Scottish voters a positive, and compelling, vision of the UK,” they said.
The newspaper also took issue with Lord Frost’s intervention into the debate. The former Brexit minister wrote in the Telegraph that Wales and Scotland weren’t nations, the UK should become a “unitary state” with devolution “evolved back”, and independence should be made “impossible”.
He also described the devolved governments as “subordinate” to Westminster and said that the UK Government needed to change how it discussed them.
Reacting to his comments, the Times editorial said that “during the Tory Party leadership contest, some senior unionists have done more to assist Scottish nationalism than they have to promote their own cause”.
“Lord Frost’s suggestion that for a second referendum to go ahead, there should be 75 per cent pro-independence MSPs at Holyrood for a ten-year period might appeal to those seduced by the idea of ‘muscular unionism’ but it is a ludicrously unfair proposal that most pro-UK politicians would, wisely, refuse to promote,” they said.
“If Frost’s proposal was advanced, Ms Sturgeon’s claim that Scots are ‘ignored’ by Westminster would become far more credible.”
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