THE SNP have slammed Boris Johnson’s “desperate” blueprint to save the Union, saying voters will see the Conservative government have nothing positive to offer Scotland.

Keith Brown, the party’s depute leader, hit out just two days ahead of polling day on Thursday after it emerged at the weekend Johnson’s government – hit by a series of sleaze allegations – was drawing up plans to spend billions of pounds on the country’s transport network in a bid to stop independence. Brown said: “Whilst the SNP is focused on taking Scotland safely through the pandemic and into our recovery, the Tory government are desperately scrambling to deny the people of Scotland their democratic right.

“The Tories have nothing positive to offer the people of Scotland and their plans are so desperate even people inside the Tory party can see them for what they are.

“These won’t fool the people of Scotland though, the Tories are set to impose years of austerity on Scotland, plunging more people into poverty.

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“On Thursday, the people of Scotland face a choice, whether to put Scotland’s future into Boris Johnson’s sleaze-ridden Tory government or into its own hands by re-electing Nicola Sturgeon as First Minister with Both Votes SNP.”

On Sunday it was reported Johnson is planning to unveil a blueprint for the Union in the week after the Holyrood election, with measures including treating Scottish patients in English hospitals, investing in infrastructure, paying for students to study in other parts of the UK and urging diplomats to make the case for the Union abroad.

It is said Johnson and senior Cabinet ministers are concerned about the election, saying it is being treated by the SNP as a “referendum on a referendum”.

A meeting is due to be held this week with Johnson, Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove, Chancellor Rishi Sunak and the secretaries of state for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to discuss the response to the election results.

However, one Cabinet minister told a newspaper on Sunday voters may be better off giving their support to another pro-Union party other than the Scottish Conservatives in an effort to derail the plans of Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP.

The minister is reported to have said people should “vote for parties that will save the Union and avoid Scotland going into the chaos of economic uncertainty at a time when we have to build back better under Covid”.

The remark outraged some within the Scottish Conservatives, who argue it will only seek to undermine their campaign and demonstrates “a lack of understanding about the Scottish voting system overall”.

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Several senior Tories told The Herald yesterday they were concerned by the remarks, with one party figure describing it as “complete c**p”.

Another added: “This is nonsense, and beyond belief, that the most senior figures in our government would advocate for voting for another party.”

On Johnson’s “blueprint”, another Tory source said that while some of the ideas are worthwhile, others appeared as if the UK Government was “clutching at straws”.

“If it was an attempt to convince people in Scotland that Boris is taking the Union seriously, then I don’t know why this plan isn’t being announced before the election,” added the source.