JOHN Swinney has claimed that the UK Government is “accepting the reality” that a second independence referendum will inevitably be held.

The Deputy First Minister was responding by comments by Michael Gove that it was an “interesting question” whether Scots who live elsewhere in the UK should be able to vote in a re-run of the 2014 poll - after the suggestion was raised by George Galloway.

Mr Swinney said the voting franchise should remain on par with the first independence referendum.

The Times newspaper also reported that Mr Gove has met privately with figures from other parties to discuss support for the Union.

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Speaking on BBC Good Morning Scotland, Mr Swinney said: “This move and this talk is essentially an indication of an acceptance of the reality that we’re now facing.

“That support for Scottish independence is demonstrating itself at a strong, consistent Yes position and majority support for Yes which is now emerging in a number of polls.

“So I think what we’re now seeing is the UK Government accepting that there will have to be a referendum on independence, and that’s a welcome position for them to take and it’s a democratic position for them to take.”

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He added: “We had a referendum in 2014 in which people took the view that this was a well-organised referendum, with the correct franchise in which the people who are eligible to vote here in Scotland were able to do so.

“And I think that served us well, there was international commendation for the strength and the quality of the process we put in place in 2014.

“And I don’t think we should deviate from that because of the inconvenience for the UK Government of the fact that Yes support is now demonstrating such a strong position within Scotland.”