A LEADING MP has called for Scotland to stick with the union and not abandon the north of England with Boris Johnson.

Tim Farron made the plea after 17 polls in a row showed majority support for Scottish independence, with the SNP on track for a major victory at the Holyrood elections next year.

The former Liberal Democrat leader has spoken repeatedly about the dangers of nationalism during debates in the House of Commons, and last week told the Conservatives that their rise in English nationalism was coming back back to haunt them, and they should not be surprised by the growing independence support.

During a debate on the UK Internal Market Bill, he said: “I run the risk of offending some people around me, but I say this to the English nationalists on the Government benches whose modus operandi to win the elections of the past few years has been to blame all the ills of the country on people outside our border: that has done you a lot of good in terms of electoral results in recent years, but it can happen to you in reverse, as nationalists north of the border point to the nationalists on your Front Bench and decide to make a call that it is time to end the Union.”

Speaking exclusively to The Herald on Sunday after the debate, the MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale compared tactics used by the SNP to those used by former Ukip leader Nigel Farage, and said it was “insulting” to characterise England as an overarching dominant state in the UK.

The MP explained: “I’m aware of the fact that when all this is said and done, self-determination is vital for any people but I think nationalism, to put it bluntly, has never ended well, ever, anywhere.

“I can understand that the United Kingdom’s current management is not very attractive, but far better for people who are progressive in Scotland rather than adding an almost infinite level of complexity and misery to what we’re already going through with Brexit.

“That is a pretty extreme way of ridding yourself of the Tories.Not wanting to guilt trip anybody, but you’d also be landing those in the north of England with the Tories forever.

He joked: “I believe my Scottish friends when they say they don’t hate the English, but if you left us in the hands of the Tories forever, you must really hate us!”

The MP said that he can see similarities between some tactics used by the SNP and those used by Nigel Farage in trying to blame “others” for nationwide problems.

He explained: “My affinity with Scotland, and I’m considering it a single block, which even that is not accurate, is far greater than with London or the southeast of England .

“”The idea that England is this big state that dominates the other three is completely and wilfully insultingly misunderstanding England and how diverse it is.

“The fact is that most of the north of England has traditionally had fewer Tories than in Scotland.

“What really worries me is what nationalists do.

“They characterise the ‘other’. Farage talks about ‘Brussels’. He lumps in every doctor in Lithuania, every teacher in Spain, every say-at-home parent in Denmark, all lumped under Brussels.

“What do the Scottish nationalists talk about?

“They talk about ‘Westminster’, by which they lump in every Westmoreland farmer, every doctor in Newcastle, every poor mum struggling and having to go to a foodbank in Bradford, and they are all ‘Westminster’.

“To characterise Britain, or the English, as an oppressor in this uniform way – it’s just not accurate and it is insulting, especially in the north of England.

“I know the SNP hate this and I appreciate why. I also appreciate that there are differences.

“But I’m afraid the whole modus operandi of nationalism in Scotland and in the hands of Nigel Farage is the same game plan – blame other people for your current experiences, people beyond your borders.”

Farron said that while many Scots will be angry that they are being taken out of the European Union, many people in his own constituency are too, but did not want to break away from the rest of the country as a result.

He explained: “Yes, they robbed us of our place in Europe, but me too.

“My constituency voted more Remain than many constituencies in Scotland.

“And I’ve lost my place in Europe as well but I don’t want to break away from my country, I’m going to fight for it.”