Michael Gove: Support for independence fallen since Brexit vote

Support for Scottish independence and the SNP's 'secessionist sermonising' has fallen since voters backed Brexit, Michael Gove has claimed.
Michael Gove. Picture: Neil HannaMichael Gove. Picture: Neil Hanna
Michael Gove. Picture: Neil Hanna

The Conservative former Cabinet minister told the Commons the union has been strengthened by the Leave vote, with evidence showing it is now “more popular”.

Mr Gove made the remarks as MPs debated the Government’s plan for Brexit, with ministers under pressure to reveal more detail about their strategy.

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A majority of Scots backed Remain in June’s referendum, with Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon saying she is looking at ways to keep the country in the European single market.

But Mr Gove claimed Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson is now the most popular politician north of the border as she “wants to embrace” the referendum result.

After detailing how concerns about the economy had not come to fruition following the Brexit vote, Mr Gove added: “It was also a legitimate concern of some of those who voted Remain that by voting to leave the European Union we’d do damage to the United Kingdom.

“The truth is, of course, since we voted to leave the European Union support for a second independence referendum has fallen, support for Scottish independence has fallen, support for the Scottish National Party and its secessionist sermonising has fallen, and the single most popular politician is Ruth Davidson - the only leader of any party that wants to embrace the result.”

Pro-Brexit Mr Gove also said: “Two of the legitimate concerns expressed beforehand - our economy would be damaged and our union would be damaged - the evidence is actually our economy is stronger and the union is more popular.”