BRITISH diplomats have been told to stop referring to the “four nations of the UK” and instead refer to the Union as a single country, according to reports.

A story in The Sunday Times said that the idea had been put forward at a meeting hosted by the Prime Minister with the aim of strengthening links between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

According to the report, civil servants working for the UK Government will be “told to change the way they speak about the UK”, with references to the “four nations” discouraged.

Instead they will reportedly be told to refer to the nations in the Union as one country.

The SNP have hit out at the revelations, saying that the change in rhetoric would show that promises of a Union of equals have “turned to dust”.

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The party’s depute leader at Westminster Kirsten Oswald MP (below) said: "In equal measures this just shows how panicked the Tories are about the SNP's election victory in May, how arrogant they are with their power, and how out of touch they are with the people of Scotland.

"It also shows how their promises of Scotland being an equal partner in a four-nation UK within the EU have completely turned to dust. They quite simply cannot be trusted.

The National:

"Independence is now the only way for Scotland to achieve equal partnership from a Westminster Tory government that thinks it can treat Scotland any way it likes and get away with it."

Other ideas discussed included improved transport links between the constituent nations of the UK, and for policy makers in Whitehall to put the Union at the forefront of their priorities.

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The news comes amid reports that Prince William hopes to intervene in the Scottish independence debate in favour of the Union.

A source close to the royal household told the Sunday Times that the royal family “think of it as their Union”.

Saying that the royals thought politicians were “losing Scotland for them”, the royal source added: “What William is doing is a deliberately more muscular approach to the crown investing in the relationship with Scotland.”

The family hope to spend more time in Balmoral and strengthen ties with St Andrews so that they look like residents of Scotland and not occasional visitors, the paper said.

UK Government ministers are reportedly privately in favour of the Earl of Strathearn’s approach, but fearful of speaking out as they want to avoid being accused of politicising the royals.