DAVID Mundell has come under pressure to ensure the findings of a secret poll carried out by the UK Government about independence and attitudes to the Union are made public.

The Secretary of State was pressed by Tommy Sheppard on the matter when he appeared before the Commons’s Scottish Affairs Committee yesterday with the SNP MP asking him if the Cabinet Office had shared the results of the study with him.

Mundell said analysis of the findings was still ongoing, adding he was aware of “aspects of” the research. “I’m very pleased that they have shared it with you as they haven’t shared it with me despite repeated questioning,” Sheppard replied, before telling Mundell that his latest attempt to obtain the report under freedom of information legislation had been rejected.

Sheppard said the reason given for the decision to turn down the request was that it related to the formulation of Government policy. He pressed what policy it related to and what was the justification for withholding the information was if policy on devolution was not under review.

Mundell stated: “I didn’t make the determination in relation to the information in question. There is a process for you to be able to ask for that to be reviewed.”

Sheppard said the appeal had been lodged to obtain the survey, which was carried out by the polling company Ipsos Mori. His FoI request was turned down by Lidington’s department earlier this month. He had previously tried to get the information via parliamentary questions, but Lidington’s department refused to provide it.

Earlier at the committee meeting, convener Pete Wishart, the SNP MP, noted “there was lot of flurry of activity” over devolution at the moment, pointing to his committee’s report on inter governmental working as well as a review announced by the PM in Stirling which will be carried out by Lord Dunlop.

He also referred to a report in The Herald yesterday which said the new PM would establish a “Union war chest” in a bid to counter independence and the demand for a second referendum.

Wishart said: “And there was something in the press today about a war chest running into tens of millions of pounds that’s to be established to strengthen the Union. What’s going on?Why all this activity just now?”

Mundell said the 20th anniversary of devolution was a factor in the increased interest, adding Lord Dunlop would be looking at how the Scottish and UK Governments “rub” along together as well as the UK Government’s visibility in Scotland.

Pressed on the war chest of tens of millions of pounds, Mundell said: “I don’t believe everything I read in the press, but I make no apology for the UK Government spending money in Scotland, making people aware of what its roles and responsibilities are and how we are carrying them out.”