MICHAEL Gove has branded the SNP's plans to ditch the pound after independence "the single daftest idea in British politics in my lifetime". 

The Environment Secretary insisted the proposals would be "economic madness" and would lead to poverty and inflation as prices rose. 

He launched the attack during a packed fringe meeting at the Scottish Tory conference in Aberdeen

Mr Gove, who is a favourite to take over as Prime Minister when Theresa May steps down, said: "A separate Scottish currency – what resources is it going to be backed by? Who is going to run the central bank?

"Inevitably it would be the case that it would depreciate against the pound, and that would mean that anything that was bought in Scottish shops would be more expensive. 

"It also means that resources that companies in Scotland need to buy – timber and other resources from abroad – in order to fuel growth, will became more expensive. 

"It would create poverty and inflation in Scotland. It would also be an administrative nightmare."

The SNP wants to keep the pound immediately after independence before moving to a new currency as soon as six key economic tests are met. 

But Mr Gove, who grew up in Aberdeen, said this would create confusion for someone living in the Scottish Borders and taking a bus to Carlisle for a weekly shop.

He added: "You'd need a bureau de change at Berwick.

"You wouldn't even be able to use sterling in Stirling. It is the craziest idea that I think they've come up with – and the person who knows that it's mad? Nicola herself. 

"Because she didn't even want this policy. It was forced on her by the radicals who are increasingly in control of the SNP."

He said there was not a single Scottish business which believes the currency plan is a good idea, adding: "The more time they spend constructing fantasy currencies, the less time they spend dealing with the bread and butter of improving education and healthcare."

It came after Scottish Secretary David Mundell insisted Nicola Sturgeon would be barred from holding any "legal referendum" on independence – as he lambasted the SNP's currency plans as amounting to "chocolate money".

He told delegates at the conference: "Let me be absolutely clear: if Nicola Sturgeon continues with her indyref2 plans and asks the UK Government's agreement to hold a referendum, the answer will be no.

"No section 30 order, no second Edinburgh Agreement, no legal referendum. The people of Scotland said no in 2014, and they meant it."

He added: "I'm very clear: my constituents don't want Nicola Sturgeon's chocolate money under any name."