A SCOTTISH Tory MP has backed a controversial plan for the UK Government to root out “undue nationalist bias” in the teaching of British history in schools.

Andrew Bowie said the idea was one of “a series of feasible policy recommendations” that could help “a Unionist fightback” against the threat of independence.

The SNP and Greens called the idea “ludicrous” and “sinister”.

Mr Bowie, the MP for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine, backs the proposal in the foreword to a paper published today by the Council on Geostrategy.

It urges the UK Government to “provision an entity within civil society to conduct a review of the way in which history of Britain is actually taught in Scottish school classrooms, with a view to maintain political neutrality, exposing any undue Scottish nationalist bias”.

Last year an Education Scotland timeline of Scots history was labelled “arrant propaganda” after including a debunked myth about Winston Churchill sending English tanks into Glasgow in 1919.

It also described “a resentment of English domination” in the 18th Century and said “hopes for an independent Scotland continued” after the 1707 Act of Union.

The new thinktank paper advocates a social media drive to sell a “morally attractive” story about Britain to younger people and overcome negative associations with the British Empire.

It says many Scottish nationalists “equate Britain with empire, and empire with evil, seeing Scotland’s possible independence as part of the progressive arc of history”.

Titled ‘How ‘progressive ‘ anti-imperialism threatens the United Kingdom’, it was written by academics Doug Stokes, Professor of International Security at Exeter University, and Nigel Biggar, Regius Professor of Moral and Pastoral Theology at Oxford University.

The authors claim Scottish separatists want people to feel alienated from the UK and so for them “it is politically useful to recount the history of the British Empire as a litany of ugly racial prejudice, rapacious economic exploitation, and violent atrocity”, such as slavery.

HeraldScotland: Andrew Bowie MPAndrew Bowie MP

From that perspective, ending the Union and breaking up the UK would therefore “be an act of national repentance from an oppressive imperial past”.

But the truth about the British Empire is more “morally complicated and ambiguous” than this simplistic view, they say.

To defend and promote the Union to Scots voters, they say the British Government should fund groups “in civil society to develop a sophisticated social media strategy that distils a positive story about Britain and its past into memes, tailors them to specific groups of voters, and than broadcasts them in both words and images”.

In his foreword, Mr Bowie, a vice chair of the UK Conservatives and former Parliamentary Private Secretary to Prime Minister Theresa May, said the consistent support for independence, despite a weaker economic case than in 2014, meant pro-Union parties needed to “seek to understand why the nationalist message appeals to large numbers of Scottish voters,” especially the young.

“And from there begin crafting a convincing and positive story for the British union.”

He said the paper looked at how the history of the British Empire was being used to “villainise the United Kingdom and present Scotland as a victim of English imperialism”.

He said: “The paper sets out a series of feasible policy recommendations that can foster an environment supportive of a unionist fightback. I heartily recommend that anyone passionate about not only preserving, but strengthening, the British union read this paper and consider the messages within.”

Geostrategy Ltd, the firm behind the Council for Geostrategy, was set up earlier this year by two former staffers of the neo-conservative Henry Jackson Society.

SNP MSP Rona Mackay said: “This paper is so spectacularly ill-informed about the historical, political and democratic case for independence it is hard to know where to begin.

“But the fact that senior Scottish Tories are actively encouraging the suggestion that Boris Johnson should start meddling in Scotland’s schools by forcing teachers to deliver a Tory-led version of history almost beggars belief.

“It is a sinister development, and Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross should disassociate himself and his party from this suggestion.”

Scottish Greens education spokesperson Ross Greer said: “This ludicrous paper seems to have based its research on tabloid scare stories rather than any real knowledge of what children are taught in Scottish schools.

“For Scotland to be a modern, forward-thinking and outward-looking nation, we need to understand our own history, including both the good and the bad.

“Of course that should include our role in the empire and slavery. Erasing that would be the real ‘nationalist propaganda’.

“It’s alarming to see a Tory MP endorse this proposal to interfere in Scottish education for such a nakedly partisan and British nationalist purpose.”

A Scottish Conservative spokesman said: “Scottish education is devolved. These are Andrew’s personal views and do not reflect party policy.”