Boris Johnson scrapped the proposal by cabinet office minister Michael Gove because he felt Nicola Sturgeon was not on the “same political level as him”. A source said: “Michael suggested it at cabinet as one of a number of ideas to address the Scottish question, but Boris didn’t like it.
“He doesn’t like the idea of Ms Sturgeon being seen as on the same political level as him.”
Mr Gove put forward the plans as a means to contain increasing public support in Scotland for independence by giving the Scottish National Party (SNP) leader a direct say in policy meetings impacting the whole of UK, The Financial Times has reported.
In Scotland, a recent poll found 54 percent of the people favoured independence, driven by a perception that Scotland’s semi-autonomous government has handled the coronavirus outbreak better than the UK government.
But Mr Gove’s idea was criticised as a “complete non starter” with a senior Tory MP saying: “It would end up with Nicola standing on the steps of Number 10 telling an expectant world how bad the government is.
“Unionists in Scotland would find the whole idea outrageous.”
Last month, the Prime Minister visited north of the border in a bid to strengthen support for the union, while it has also been reported Mr Johnson will also travel to the country for a family holiday this weekend.
Four UK Cabinet ministers, including Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Business Secretary Alok Sharma, have also visited Scotland in recent weeks as part of their attempts to stave off support for Scottish independence.
During a visit to a London school on Monday, Mr Johnson said it would be “such a shame” to lose the “magic” of the UK.
Speaking on a visit to St Joseph’s school in Upminster, Mr Johnson insisted that the UK is “better together”.
His comments came as polling indicates rising support for Scottish independence, with a Panelbase study in the Sunday Times last month putting support for a Yes vote in a referendum at 54 percent and support for No at 46 percent.
He said: “The union of the United Kingdom, for me it’s the greatest political partnership the world has ever seen.
“I think what people in this country often don’t appreciate is the way in which the UK is seen abroad.
“They don’t see us as England or Wales or Scotland or Northern Ireland, what they see is great British institutions.
“They see amazing British armed services, amazing British diplomacy, overseas aid, British science and technology, British arts, that’s the thing that is admired and loved around the world.
“It would be such a shame to lose the power, the magic, of that union. We are much, much stronger and better together than broken up.”
But last week, Ms Sturgeon warned Scottish independence would happen “sooner rather than later”.
She added: “I’ve spent my entire adult life campaigning for Scottish independence, I believe in Scottish independence with every fibre of my being.
“I also believe that Scotland is going to be independent sooner rather than later and I’m also the SNP leader that now presides over support for Scottish independence.”