BORIS Johnson’s Scottish Secretary has warned that a lack of support for Brexit north of the border is contributing to increasing levels of support for independence.

Polls have put the proportion of Scots backing separation form the United Kingdom at record levels, with a string of surveys putting support at more than 50 per cent. One poll found support for Scottish independence is as high as 58 per cent.

The UK Government’s Scottish Secretary, Alister Jack, has indicated that the case for the union needs to be made on an emotional basis in order to “win hearts and minds”.

The SNP said that Scotland has been "completely ignored by Westminster throughout" the Brexit process and suggested it was no surprise people were turning to indpenedence.

Mr Jack was asked about the UK Government’s strategy for making the case for the Union on BBC Sunday Politics Scotland and said he regularly speaks to Mr Johnson about the union.

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He said: “He absolutely wants Scotland to remain part of the United Kingdom – he's a strong unionist.

“His position is that we need to keep pressing the case for the Union and the strength of the Union in Scotland, not just with financial support but we realise you have to win hearts as well as minds.”

Mr Jack insisted that UK ministers “do have plans” to make a stronger case for Scotland remaining part of the UK but would not divulge what the strategy will consist of.

But he admitted that trying to sell the benefits of Brexit to the Scottish public, who voted overwhelmingly against the UK leaving the European Union, is a barrier to increasing support for his unionist cause.

But Mr Jack insisted that the UK Government will “play the long game” to illustrate to the Scottish public the benefits of leaving the EU and remaining part of the United Kingdom.

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He said: “As we come out of the European Union, I do acknowledge that part of the problem we have is there are a lot of people in Scotland upset that we are leaving the EU.”

Mr Jack said that the UK Government must “show the benefits of a trade deal” and of having control over fishing rules.

He added that “those things will show benefits to people in Scotland.”

SNP shadow Scottish secretary, Mhairi Black, said: "Boris Johnson is increasing support for independence by imposing an extreme Tory Brexit against Scotland's will, and attacking devolution with an unprecedented power grab on the Scottish Parliament.

"Scotland did not vote for Brexit and we have been completely ignored by Westminster throughout the process. Now we face the worst possible low or no deal outcome from a Tory government we didn't vote for - proving that Scotland will never be treated as an equal partner in the UK. And this after Scots were falsely promised in 2014 that the only way to protect their EU membership was to vote no.

"It's no wonder that majority support for independence is at record levels. It is clearer than ever that the only way to protect Scotland's interests and our place in Europe is to become an independent country. The people of Scotland deserve a choice over our future."