Scottish independence ‘would boost Putin’ - Gove

Michael Gove at Scottish Conservative conference in 2013. Picture: TSPL
Michael Gove at Scottish Conservative conference in 2013. Picture: TSPL
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CONSERVATIVE minister Michael Gove has claimed that a ‘Yes’ vote in September’s Scottish independence referendum would provide a boost to the Russian president Vladimir Putin.

The Scots-born MP - currently in charge of education across England and Wales - said that an independent Scotland would leave the Kremlin in “a stronger position”, according to the Telegraph.

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Gove said: “Think globally. Think what would happen if Scotland and England broke up. Do we think that Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin would think ‘oh that’s a pity?’

“Or do you think he would think: ‘Ah look, the second principal beacon of liberty in the world is a little more unstable. That plinth has been broken. I’m in a stronger position to do what I want’?”

Gove was speaking at a debate on Scottish independence at the Chalke Valley History Festival in Wiltshire.

Gove’s last major intervention in the campaign came 12 months ago in a speech in which he called for the UK to stay together, saying: “I don’t want my children to grow up thinking that granny and grandad are foreigners.”

Putin comments

Earlier this month, Alex Salmond held ”constructive talks” with members of Scotland’s Ukrainian community after stating that he admired “certain aspects” of the Russian leader in a magazine interview.

In January, Mr Putin told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show: “It’s not a matter for Russia, it’s a domestic issue for the United Kingdom.”

He added: “But I believe one should not forget that being part of a single, strong state has some advantages and one should not overlook this.”