The Conservatives are ironing out a strategy to counter rising support for Scottish independence according to reports, with a memo reportedly circulating analysing how to avoid a referendum in the event of a pro-independence majority in the Scottish elections. 

Bloomberg reports that the 21-page memo is being circulated to a select group of people including Cabinet minister Michael Gove, that suggests tactics to delay and counter calls for a second independence referendum. 

Bloomberg claims that the memo states that continuing to dismiss Scottish calls for another independence vote outright could be “counterproductive outlining a number of steps that could be taken to stave off a potential second independence vote.

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Measures suggested in the report, include handing more powers to Edinburgh and pressuring the European Union to dismiss the idea of Scotland rejoining the bloc as an independent country.

It comes as the latest poll put support for Scottish independence at 58%, continuing an upward trend in recent months.

It is claimed that the 21-page memo analyses a number of aspects around Scottish independence including polling trends, voter intentions, and a strategy to dismiss the idea of a further independence vote in the event of an SNP/pro-independence majority.

The report says: “If the SNP builds on this momentum then the endpoint could be a full-blown constitutional crisis or a second independence referendum,” the report said. “Either of these outcomes would consume significant political capital for the government.”

According to Bloomberg, who has a copy of the document, the memo also suggests the Conservatives campaign should focus on the SNP’s record in government, making the party “pay the price” for running the semi-autonomous government since 2007.  It also outlines potential strategies stating that “a hard-hitting, attack-focused” campaign against Sturgeon could shift votes.

The report calls for the EU to try and dismiss the idea of Scotland joining the bloc stating that “co-opting the EU into demonstrating that there is no viable pathway to renewed membership,” would be a severe blow to the popularity of independence. 

The “once in a generation” argument has also been hindered by Brexit, or so the memo claims, with it stating that the “once in a generation” vote is no longer effective saying: “Put simply, there are not enough Leave voters to convert to the ‘No’ side to make up for the movement of Remain voters into the ‘Yes’ camp.”  

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Another issue of concern reportedly raised in the memo is the lack of leadership and key personnel on the “No” side with the report claiming that there is “a vacuum of leadership within the Unionist movement which is leaving the campaign rudderless at a key moment.”

The memo calls for a constitutional plan focusing on “Four Nations, One Country” that should be ready for unveiling if the SNP wins a majority that could be ratified via a referendum as a “placation” against the SNP’s demands for an independence vote.