Nicola Sturgeon grilled by Ruth Davidson during FMQs
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Douglas Ross, leader of the Scottish Tories, said families like his own with relatives in Scotland and England could end up separated by a full border if the SNP First Minister achieves her independence dream. And former Tory Cabinet Liam Fox has raised concerns that family ties going back generations could be strained by the separatist’s ambition. Both politicians yesterday backed the Daily Express’s Unite The Kingdom crusade, which is campaigning to strengthen the UK in the face of breakaway demands from Ms Sturgeon and her allies.
She is demanding a fresh referendum on independence in Scotland if the SNP triumphs in elections in May.
Mr Ross, who will make his first keynote speech to a Scottish Conservative conference this weekend, told the Daily Express that preventing a border going up between friends and relatives was a key argument in the battle against the separatists.
He said: “A number of my own family moved down to Corby generations ago so we have got strong links from here in Morayshire down to the Midlands.
“It would be a shame to see that in any way restricted because of a border at Berwick.
“We also know there are hundreds of thousands of people across the border who live in Scotland and work in England or live in England and work in Scotland.
“They would find it absolutely detrimental to their daily lives to have this border between the two countries.
“At a time when we should be working on recovering from Covid-19 and continuing to work together, it just seems totally the wrong message for the SNP continually trying to separate our country.”
He added: “I absolutely welcome the Daily Express campaign. I’ve been saying since I became leader that independence is not inevitable and an SNP majority at the election is not inevitable.
“We have seen a positive shift in the polls that just reinforces the point that we have got a big job ahead of us.”
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Dr Fox, who was born and raised in East Kilbride and is now MP for North Somerset, said the mix of cultural traditions and identities within families spread around the four parts of the UK was “one of the greatest things about our country.”
The former defence and international trade secretary Dr Fox, wrote: “I grew up and was educated in Scotland but have spent most of my life living in England.
“One of the great blessings of living in the UK is that you can be proudly British and proudly English at the same time, just as you can be proudly British and proudly Scottish or Welsh or Northern Irish.
“We can take pride in our distinct national identities, cultures and heritage while, at the same time, embracing our shared pride in our collective British identity, history and values.
“We do not have to choose one over the other.”
Two new opinion polls in Scotland yesterday showed majority support for keeping the UK together among voters who expressed a preference.
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One survey, conducted for the Scotsman newspaper by Savanta ComRes, found that 45% of respondents said they would vote Yes if the vote was held tomorrow, while 47% said they would vote No and 8% said they did not know.
When unsure voters were excluded, 51% said they would vote in favour of the union while 49% would vote for independence. The survey also showed SNP support is wilting ahead of May’s elections for the Scottish parliament.
And a poll carried out for The Times by YouGov found that 51% were in favour of the union while 49% supported independence.
Pamela Nash, chief executive of Scotland in Union, said: “There is a clear trend in rising support for remaining part of the UK.
“With a successful UK vaccination programme and UK-wide support for jobs and businesses, it’s clear that we are stronger together.
“The SNP’s negative vision to divide Scotland is being rejected.
“The people of Scotland want the focus to be on bringing our country together and building a successful future.”
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