Nicola Sturgeon plot exposed as Tories ‘happy to cut SNP loose’ despite risks to UK | UK | News (Reports)

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Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister of Scotland, is hoping to hold a “legal referendum” should her Scottish National Party (SNP) win a landslide victory in May’s Holyrood elections. Popularity for independence has grown during the pandemic, as Scotland early on appeared to have a better grip on the coronavirus than England. Things have quickly changed, however, with Ms Sturgeon now faced with fierce opposition from Scotland’s other parties for her “slow” rolling out of the coronavirus vaccine.

The latest data showed Scotland’s per capita rate of vaccinations of over-18s stood at 9.4 percent on Monday, lower than the UK’s average rate for over-18s of 12.4 percent.

England alone soared past Scotland, close to reaching a first-dose vaccination rate of 13 percent.

The UK Government has now said it is “ready to offer any support of assistance” it can give Ms Sturgeon and Scotland to get up to speed.

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson has only recently upped his party’s efforts in curbing Scottish independence.

Last week, he travelled to Scotland to emphasise the strength of the UK working together during the pandemic.

Despite previously saying Scotland should aim for an independence referendum not this year, but in 2055, he has appointed Oliver Lewis, who was deputy to chief Brexit negotiator David Frost, as the leader of the charge to stop Scotland breaking away.

It is part of a five-step plan, which will portray Westminster as more multicultural than “France or Germany”, with the Union sold as “forward-thinking on green issues and technology”.

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Yet, Paul Embery, a leading trade unionist and Labour member, told Express.co.uk that many Conservative MPs might, in fact, be happy to see Scotland leave the UK, as it would bolster the electoral strength of the Tories domestically.

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The Conservatives famously underperform in Scotland.

Naturally Labour heartlands, Sir Keir Starmer’s party has in recent years seriously declined north of the border.

This was especially during the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn.

While he sat as leader of the opposition, Labour suffered its worse ever election defeat in Scotland, losing 40 of the 41 seats it was defending.

The SNP went on to win 56 of the 59 seats available in what was a landslide victory for Ms Sturgeon.

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Mr Johnson’s colleagues might also be happy to see Scotland off, it has been suggested, as it would put Labour in the position of losing the seats it needs to gain traction in Westminster.

Steven Fielding, Professor of Political History at the University of Nottingham told Express.co.uk: “If Starmer doesn’t win in terms of persuading the Scots that this is a viable alternative to independence, Scotland’s going to be independent within a few years.

“That hurts the Labour Party.”

It is largely accepted that should Scotland vote in an independence referendum tomorrow, it would leave the UK.

The most recent poll, carried out by Panelbase for The Times, found that 52 percent of Scots backed an Indyref2.

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