THE TORIES may be considering whether Independence would actually be such a bad thing, or whether it could help them to gain more power in the rest of Britain, according to an academic.

Dr Malcolm Harvey, of the University of Aberdeen, said the party may benefit if Scotland split from the rest of the country, and the issue may be a point of discussion internally.

The issue came to prominence five years ago, during the referendum on independence, and again in earlier this year when a Tory candidate for one of the party's key seats made remarks about Scots "fleecing" English taxpayers.

Harvey said: "This is maybe a bit cynical or sceptical, but without Scotland if you take the 59 seats out, the Conservatives are home and dry in every general election.

"There may be a bit of Conservative thinking that 'if we jettison Scotland, we can be permanently government in England’. That might get some of them thinking ‘Is it worth keeping the union, on that basis?’.

"That’s a bit cynical because the union means a lot more to people than short-term politics, but part of me thinks there may be some conversations happening in the Conservatives, like 'Would it be such a bad thing if we lost Scotland?’"

Ryan Henson, Bedford and Kempston Conservative candidate, made remarks in 2014, which only emerged in August this year, about how Scotland remaining part of the UK would be a catastrophe for the country.

He also said England would be better off without Scotland.

He wrote in 2014: "Scotland faces economic ruin should it continue with its socialist policies after losing the power to fleece the Conservative-voting English taxpayers.

"It is we English who bankroll her free health prescriptions; fund the entirety of her children’s four-year-long university courses; and subsidise her bloated, private enterprise-killing, left-leaning public sector.”

Henson, who did not win his seat this week, said the article for the Conservative Home website was intended as satire, and added: "This was intended as a light-hearted take on the Scottish referendum campaign, and was taken as such at the time. It does not reflect my views – I passionately believe in the importance of the Union especially at this time."