THE Prime Minister was told to create a Cabinet position solely focused on the Union as a way to see off Scottish independence, it has emerged.

The recommendation was among several made in a report on devolution by Lord Dunlop, which was set up in 2019 but remains unpublished.

For months MPs have been calling for the UK Government to publish the report, set out to “strengthen the working of the Union”, and open it up to scrutiny.

The Daily Telegraph reports that a detailed recommendation in the review involves the creation of a position titled “Secretary of State for Intergovernmental and Constitutional Affairs”, a role which would be fulfilled by a Cabinet “big beast”.

READ MORE: Johnson 'told minister for the Union title is not enough' in devolution review

Former Scottish minister Lord Dunlop suggested that the new role would be on a similar level to the traditional major offices of state to stress its seniority.

The new minister would oversee the functions of the Union and lead interactions with the devolved nations.

Upon becoming Prime Minister in 2019, Boris Johnson gave himself the title of Minister for the Union. The responsibilities of the position are described on the Government’s website: “As Minister for the Union, the Prime Minister works to ensure that all of government is acting on behalf of the entire United Kingdom: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.”

The National:

Boris Johnson in Scotland earlier this month

Last summer it was reported that among the 40 recommendations within the Dunlop Review, Johnson was told that this Minister for the Union title is not enough. He was encouraged to appoint an “operational arm” to relations between the nations.

The review also called on the UK Government to send Whitehill policymakers from London to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

A source close to the report said: “The First Minister of Scotland is thinking 24/7, ‘how do I advance the cause for separation’?

“You need someone senior in the UK Government devoting an equal amount of time thinking how you strengthen the UK and make it flourish in the long-term.”

Mhairi Black, the SNP's shadow Scotland spokesperson, pointed to Johnson's failures as Minister for the Union.

“Boris Johnson cynically appointed himself as Minister for the Union when he became PM, and reports now recommending a separate Cabinet minister for the union post tells you all you need to know about his success," she commented.

“The publication of the Dunlop review has been delayed again and again by the UK government – but regardless of what it says, Scotland doesn’t need Tory tinkering with the constitution, we need independence.

The National:

“Twenty-one consecutive opinion polls have now shown a majority for independence. People in Scotland have the right to decide their own future.

"The issue at the Holyrood election this May will be this: who has the right to decide what sort of country we should be after the pandemic – the people of Scotland or Boris Johnson?

“Scotland’s future should be in Scotland’s hands – not Boris Johnson’s."

The leaked details emerged just days after reports indicated Downing Street is looking to hire dozens more Union advisers, with Westminster beginning to recognise the Union as a priority.

The Union Directorate, headed up by former Vote Leave chief Oliver Lewis, currently employs 15 people but could expand to as many as 50 members.

The team is replacing the Union Unit, which was thrown into chaos recently when its only Scottish member was sacked.

There was controversy at the weekend as a senior UK Government source described the Union Directorate’s challenge as similar to that faced by generals in Vietnam.

READ MORE: Boris Johnson's team of Union advisers to 'triple in size to 30-50 staff'

They said: “The strategy has been a bit like the US dealing with the Viet Cong.

“The generals there were playing chess, trying to land that killer blow, but the game they should have been playing was Go, where you surround the opposing side.

“We need a much more holistic approach against the SNP, there needs to be work with charities, opinion formers and civil society to change people’s minds.

“There’s too much soft support for independence.”

Kirsten Oswald, the SNP’s deputy Westminster leader, described the use of language as “outrageous”.