A new Government department for the Union could help stop the UK breaking up, a Scottish MP has claimed.

Tory MP Stephen Kerr (Stirling) told MPs he is "worried about the fragility of the Union" and called on the Government to "seriously consider" the idea of setting up a new ministry focused on cohesion between the different countries in the UK.

He added: "As a result of our asymmetrical devolution one challenge is with many of the powers that may come back to the UK from the EU we will find that some ministers at Westminster will be responsible for both UK common market cohesion as well the specific framework for England.

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"It creates a conflict of interests to which, for some of us, federalism is one solution.

"The other would be the creation of a department for the Union to act as an arbiter."

Mr Kerr said the new Whitehall department "could be part of the constitutional jigsaw" to solve future challenges around devolution.

He added: "This department would be of such importance that the leader of it should be one of the five great offices of state.

"They would be supported by a group of senior ministers representing Scotland, Wales, England and Northern Ireland.

"A department of the Union in Whitehall would be responsible for maintaining and enhancing the regulatory and governmental framework of our United Kingdom, hearing the voices of English, Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish ministers and business in each sector and civic bodies would allow for a regulatory framework that works for the whole United Kingdom.

"Within this framework, devolved governments would be able to adjust policies to suit the individual country of the United Kingdom while protecting the cohesion of the single market of one of the largest economies of the world."

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Mr Kerr said he hoped this would resolve the constitutional status of Scotland, adding: "I speak as a Conservative and Unionist to say I wish we could get past all of the unending and frankly fruitless discussions about constitutional arrangements and talk about policies that improve the life opportunities of people in Scotland.

"But we need to address the issue of the governance of Scotland and we need to be able to bridge the gap that exists in constitutional machinery terms that allows the SNP the breathing space in order to fester the grievances that they're busy manufacturing."