A LABOUR grandee is hatching a plot to block Scotland from holding a second independence referendum, it has been revealed.

A new bill that would give the Treasury a veto over devolved administrations spending money on reserved matters is being drafted by former Scottish Labour MP George Foulkes.

If passed, it would allow the UK Government to dictate how the SNP Government in Edinburgh spends its money – and would allow ministers to prevent planning a second independence referendum as well as stopping overseas offices representing Scotland internationally.

Foulkes reportedly already has the backing of senior Tory MP Liam Fox and the Conservative peer Michael Forsyth.

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He has bragged the bill would, if successful, “be the end of indyref2”, though he needs to have it selected for debate following the Queen’s Speech on May 10 which is not guaranteed.

Foulkes, who was revealed as having claimed £54,527 in one year as a member of the unelected upper house, told the Scottish Daily Express: “This would prevent the SNP from spending money on any reserved areas like defence, the constitution or foreign affairs, so that would be the end of indyref2.”

But he claimed he was met with “reluctance” from UK ministers when he discussed his plans with them in private.

He told the paper: “I've spoken privately with ministers and advisors and I'm getting a reluctance from the UK Government for some reason.

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"They don't want to upset the SNP and I think they are afraid of being seen to be engaged in a 'power grab'. But I keep telling them there is a big difference between devolution and independence; the SNP don't understand it and the Tories don't seem to understand it either.

"I'm in the process of drafting a private members' bill to be tabled in parliament, it is at the public bills office having the final touches applied at the moment in fact.

"It would give powers to the Treasury to monitor and veto expenditure by the devolved parliaments, not just Scottish but the Welsh and Northern Irish as well, on areas that are not devolved."

Hitting back at the plans, the SNP have warned Foulkes "no politician, or unelected peer, will stand in the way of the democratic will of a nation".

An SNP spokesperson told The National: "Last year, the people of Scotland voted overwhelmingly in favour of pro-independence parties, who stood on a mandate to deliver a referendum in this parliamentary term. 

"The SNP are fully committed to delivering on that promise, and no unelected Lord at Westminster will change that."