Nicola Sturgeon has accused Westminster of “trying to rig the rules” against independence, amid reports 800,000 Scots who live in England could be given a say in a second referendum.
Cabinet ministers are reportedly pushing Boris Johnson to toughen up the fight to save the Union by allowing Scots living anywhere in the UK to vote in a second poll.
In 2014 only those registered to vote in Scotland could take part.
Polling expert Sir John Curtice has calculated that the inclusion of Scots living elsewhere would swing the vote against independence, as long as the other side did not command the support of more than 54% of voters.
I see the anti independence campaign is trying to rig the rules of #indyref2 again (tho in doing so they also concede that it’s going to happen).
Maybe they should just argue their case on its merits and allow everyone who lives in Scotland to decide #democracy https://t.co/Ymdu3yztY9
— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) June 21, 2021
The first minister criticised the tactics on Monday, posting on social media: “I see the anti-independence campaign is trying to rig the rules of #indyref2 again.
“Though in doing so they also concede that it’s going to happen.
“Maybe they should just argue their case on its merits and allow everyone who lives in Scotland to decide.”
The prime minister is also said to be considering recruiting former Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson, to a newly created role of constitutional secretary.
Ms Davidson, who is due to take a seat in the House of Lords after quitting Holyrood, would head the pro-Union campaign from inside the UK Government, under the plans.
Number 10 pushed back against the reports on Monday, however, telling reporters the prime minister’s focus is on the Covid-19 response.
Mr Johnson’s spokesman said: “This is simply speculation, our focus is on the global pandemic and that’s the issue the public across the Union wants us to focus on.”
On Ms Davidson taking a Cabinet role, he added: “There are no plans for any sort of reshuffle.”
The reports came as Mr Johnson’s former adviser, Dominic Cummings, claimed the prime minister is “not that interested” in the Union.
Mr Cummings, who has been a fierce critic of the UK Government since leaving office, said Downing Street under his management viewed meetings on the Union as “stupid” and a “waste of time”.
Asked if the comments were accurate, a Number 10 spokesman said “no”.