Scottish election 2021: Boris Johnson to unveil 'sweeteners' for Scottish voters ahead of election

Boris Johnson is expected to unveil a raft of “sweeteners” for the Scottish electorate in a bid to stem the SNP’s victory in this week’s Holyrood election.

It is thought he will reveal proposals to spend billions of pounds on new road and rail links and plans to treat Scottish patients in English NHS beds in an attempt to prevent a nationalist landslide.

The blueprint will also offer student exchanges between UK nations and see diplomats ordered to make the case against Scottish independence in foreign capitals, according to reports in the Sunday Telegraph.

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Mr Johnson is to chair a Downing Street meeting of senior Cabinet ministers, including Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove, and Chancellor Rishi Sunak this week, along with secretaries of state for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, to finalise their cross-government response plan to the result of the Scottish election.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to unveil a package of sweeteners for Scotland. Picture: PA

One minister said the SNP was viewing Thursday’s vote as “a referendum on a referendum”.

“There is no room for complacency – we are in a bare knuckle fight,” the source said.

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Another Cabinet minister privately advocated voting for other unionist parties than the Conservatives to see off the SNP threat.

They said people should “vote for parties that will save the union and avoid Scotland going into the chaos of economic uncertainty at a time when we have to build back better under Covid”.

The party hopes that if the SNP do not win a majority, they will no longer be able to call for a second Scottish independence referendum.

Scottish Conservatives leader Douglas Ross has previously suggested that he would like to work with other pro-union parties such as Scottish Labour, to take on the nationalists. However, Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar has indicted that he was not willing to do so.

Keith Brown, depute leader of the SNP, said: "This reeks of desperation from the Tories.

"Having dragged us out of the EU against our will then ignored Scotland throughout the Brexit process while plotting a power grab on Holyrood, Boris Johnson now seems to think he can bribe Scottish voters.

"But people will not be fooled. They know the Tories are planning fresh austerity, including a plot by senior ministers including the Scottish secretary to slash spending, which would threaten public services, including our NHS.”

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