WESTMINSTER has refused to deny that it demanded the deletion of an academic blog post which said there were “no obvious reasons” to doubt the economic success of an independent Scotland.

The post, published on the London School of Economics British Politics and Policy website, was co-authored by Geoffrey Chapman who advises the Department for International Trade on economics.

He and co-author Richard Mackenzie-Gray Scott, of the British Institute of International and Comparative Law, wrote that: “Scotland satisfies all the international legal criteria for statehood, with one exception: it lacks the formal authority to enter into foreign relations, even though it has the literal ability to do so.”

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Concluding the post, the pair wrote: “Considering Scotland has all the necessary machinery in place to become an independent state, we see no obvious reasons why Scotland would not succeed economically if it were to do so, especially if achieved within the bounds of the law.

“Although our findings might be controversial to some, we hope to show that Scottish independence, while not inevitable, is far more nuanced a matter than many have claimed. There exist several options worth pursuing for the parties to this debate.”

The authors compared Scotland’s position to the “Velvet Divorce”, when Czechoslovakia was formally dissolved and the new, independent countries of Slovakia and the Czech Republic were created on January 1, 1993.

The article stated: “With modest population growth alongside good GDP growth, supported by stable participation in international trade, it seems Scotland is in a far better initial condition than either the Czech or Slovak Republics, and can therefore expect similar (if not better) post-independence outcomes.”

A UK Government spokesperson previously told The National: “This is not the view of the Department for International Trade or the UK Government, and the matter is being looked into."

The Government was later pressed by Business for Scotland, which says it believes that Westminster intervened to demand the blog was deleted.

Presented with those allegations, the Government refused to deny that it had pressured the authors to remove the blog post, only repeating that it had not reflected the views of the UK Government.

In the place of the blog post, the LSE website now says: "Update 2 April: We have been asked by the authors to take this article down temporarily.

"We will be making it available again as soon as we are able to and apologise for any inconvenience caused."

Business for Scotland founder and chief executive Gordon Macintyre-Kemp said the “suppression of academic views coupled with skewed research papers paid for by the UK government is the sort of behaviour you would expect in dictatorships, not modern democracies”.

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He went on: “The dishonesty of the UK Government is well known, including multiple breaches of the ministerial code, multiple attempts to mislead parliament and even an illegal attempt to prorogue the Westminster parliament which was defeated in the courts.

“Recently we have had newspapers publish polls with methodology changed to give false results favouring the Union and others just downright lying about the poll results to get pro-Union headlines and then correcting the poll days later to show a significant lead for Yes.

“Now we have to ask if the UK Government pressurised academics not to publish the obvious truth that Scotland will thrive and prosper as an independent nation. The suppression of academic views coupled with skewed research papers paid for by the UK government is the sort of behaviour you would expect in dictatorships, not modern democracies.

“If it is happening here in the UK then that is a clear indicator of a failing state.”