George Osborne has said voting to stay in the EU is the “simplest way” to kill off the SNP’s bid for a second Scottish independence referendum.
On a visit to the Scottish Borders, the Chancellor of the Exchequer said “we do not want to give them (the Nationalists) any excuses” to continue peddling a rerun of the 2014 vote.
He also launched a thinly veiled attack on his anti-EU Conservative colleagues as he accused the Leave campaign of increasingly aligning with UKIP leader Nigel Farage’s “disturbing” vision of a post-Brexit UK.
Speaking at a farm near Galashiels, Mr Osborne denied the Prime Minister and his allies were scaremongering by raising the spectre of a second independence vote, but warned it is part of a cocktail of dangers for Scotland if the UK backs Brexit.
“There are lots of risks at stake if we vote to leave,” he said.
“As I say the recent Scottish elections did not give the Nationalists a mandate to have another referendum and we do not want to give them any excuses.
“The simplest way to deal with all of these issues – to make sure we have a strong economy, make sure Britain’s place in the world is assured, to make sure we see the back of Farage’s vision for Britain and make sure we are a United Kingdom – is by voting for Remain.”
Mr Osborne said Mr Farage and his dangerous rhetoric on immigrants is increasingly taking over the Leave campaign.
He said: “It is pretty disgusting and we want to say no to it.
“We want to say no to this mean-spirited, divisive, negative view of Britain that you get from Nigel Farage and company.”
The Chancellor also claimed Scotland would be “particularly badly hit” by Brexit.
Earlier he warned Scots that leaving the EU would trigger a “profound economic shock”, which would see unemployment soar by around 43,000 in two years.
In what many have seen as a re-run of the Project Fear tactics seen in the independence referendum, he used Treasury analysis to forecast a £4.5bn reduction in the size of the Scottish economy by 2018 post-Brexit.
That would include average house prices in Scotland £22,000 lower than if the UK voted to Remain.
Tom Harris, director of Scottish Vote Leave, accused the Chancellor of “scaremongering” and making up statistics and called on him to stop talking the Scotland and UK economy.
Nicola Sturgeon is arguing for Remain in a live EU debate on ITV on Thursday night, which will see her pitted against former London Mayor and leading Brexiteer Boris Johnnson.