The National:

RORY Stewart proposed national service. Matt Hancock suggested lots of Union Jacks. Yet support for independence is on the rise.

So what is the solution to keeping the Union together?

An academic, appearing on the BBC’s politics live, may well have just cracked the case.

READ MORE: Tory sparks Twitter storm with ridiculous ploy to save the Union

Anthony Clifford Grayling, first master of New College of the Humanities, an independent undergraduate college in London, responded to suggestions that the Queen may be dragged into the Brexit process.

Senior Tories are said to be considering using a parliamentary device known as a humble address to get the monarch to act.

Newsnight have reported that the Queen could be asked to exercise her right as head of state to travel to the next EU summit and seek a delay to Brexit if the next PM ignored a vote rejecting no-deal.

READ MORE: Matt Hancock makes ‘nonsense’ claim about Union Jack at Edinburgh Festival

Grayling – who was once dubbed “the most hated man in academia” after his university introduced £18,000 annual fees – was deeply concerned about the monarch becoming entangled in the Brexit process.

For the Queen, he has concluded, is one of the three pillars of what makes people British.

Football, the most popular sport in the UK, is another. The third … is somewhat less popular in many parts of the UK.

Maintaining the integrity of all three is the key to keeping the Union together, Grayling confidently asserts.

He explains: “The things that keep the country together, and it’s a very divided country at the moment are cricket, football and the monarchy and I think it would be disastrous if the royal family or the Queen herself were dragged into this because it’s the one remaining thing that’s just at the moment keeping people together a bit.”

But with a majority of Scots now backing a second referendum, Unionists certainly can’t rest on their laurels.

READ MORE: Scottish independence: 51% of Scots want indyref2 now

If things get any worse, Stewart, Hancock and Grayling may need to bang their heads together.

All we’re saying is don’t be surprised if demands are soon made for the Queen, draped in the Union flag, to register for national service.

After all, desperate times call for desperate measures.