BOTH Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss would boost support for Scottish independence as Tory leader, a poll has found.

Around a quarter of Scots will be more likely to vote Yes with either of the candidates becoming prime minister – compared to only a fraction moving the other way.

It comes ahead of Sunak and Truss visiting Perth for a hustings this evening, with the candidates pledging to bring in greater scrutiny of the Scottish Government if they become the next prime minister ahead of their journey north.

READ MORE: 'Difficult questions' and protests await Sunak and Truss at Perth hustings

The SNP have responded by demanding that Sunak and Truss apologise for their role in the Tory-made cost of living crisis, adding that their fresh attacks on devolution show how “out of touch they are” with the people of Scotland.

The survey of 1002 Scots by Survation and Diffley Partnership for Charlotte Street Partners looked at attitudes to Truss and Sunak north of the Border.

It found that with both candidates, support for independence would rise regardless of who takes the keys to Number 10.

When respondents were asked if they were more likely to support independence if Truss wins the leadership contest, 20% said they were “much more likely” while 5% said they were “a little more likely” to back leaving the UK.

When asked the same question in reference to Sunak, the pollsters found that 19% were much more likely to support independence, and 7% said they were a little more likely.

For both contenders, the majority of respondents said that their appointment would not change their stance – and only a small amount would be more likely to back the Union.

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Just 6% were a little or much more likely to oppose Scottish independence with Sunak as prime minister, against 7% for Truss. With Sunak, 60% said having him in power would make no difference to how they planned to vote, whereas the figure was 58% for Truss.

The survey also found that regardless of who the next leader is, neither is likely to boost support for the Tories in Scotland.

Just 11% of people said they would be more likely to support the Tories at a general election under Truss, while 9% said they would switch to the Tories under the former chancellor.

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford hit out ahead of the Perth event.

He said: “The only thing Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss should be coming to Scotland to do is to say sorry for their part in the spiralling Tory-made cost of living crisis which they have directly contributed to.

“But the fact that new polling evidence shows that both of them would boost support for independence, regardless of who becomes PM, should tell them all they need to know about how they are seen by the vast majority of people across Scotland.”

Meanwhile, ahead of the debate, both Sunak and Truss vowed to bring in laws which would allow for greater scrutiny of the Scottish Parliament.

Truss (below) committed to getting “Scotland’s economy moving”, and vowed to change the Scotland Act to give parliamentary privilege to MSPs, in order to create more “robust questioning” of ministers and increase the powers of the Scottish Parliament to hold the Scottish Government to account.

The National: Newly-appointed Foreign Secretary Liz Truss leaves Number 10 Downing Street, as Prime Minister Boris Johnson reshuffles his Cabinet to appoint a "strong and united" team. The former trade secretary did not respond to questions about her promotion amid the cabinet reshuffle as she left. Picture date: Wednesday September 15, 2021.

Truss said: “For too long, people in Scotland have been let down by the SNP focusing on constitutional division instead of their priorities. That won’t happen under my watch.”

She added: “I’ll make sure that my government does everything to ensure elected representatives hold the devolved administration to account for its failure to deliver the quality public services – particularly health and education – that Scottish people deserve.

“As prime minister and minister for the Union, I will deliver on my ambitious plan to capitalise on the opportunity we have to turbocharge the growth and business investment required to get Scotland’s economy moving.”

Sunak meanwhile promised to make it a requirement for Scotland’s most senior civil servant, the permanent secretary to the Scottish Government, to attend Westminster’s Public Affairs and Constitutional Affairs Select Committee (PACAC) each year, just like the UK Government’s cabinet secretary.

The former chancellor has also promised to enforce “consistent reporting of public service performance data across the country” so that the UK Government could hold the Scottish Government accountable for essential public service delivery.

Sunak said: “For too long the SNP have been able to obscure their failures by picking and choosing the data they publish – I would change that, ensuring the Scottish Government’s record could be held to account while ensuring our public services are better joined up.”

Blackford (below) added that Sunak and Truss were both pandering to “an out-of-touch Tory membership”.

He said: “So as the Tory leadership circus rolls into Scotland, if the candidates want to have any credibility, they must apologise for the Tory failings that have pushed so many families to the brink.

“As for Sunak and Truss’s bids to outdo each other on trying to mount further attacks on devolution, it just shows how out of touch they are.


“Their plans to demand Scottish civil servants are forced to be grilled by Westminster committees amount to little more than sinister show trials, but also speaks volumes about their lack of confidence in Tory MSPs to do the job of scrutinising the Government.

“People across Scotland have had more than enough of this Tory government – and the only way to escape Westminster chaos and corruption is with independence.

“During the cost of living crisis, many neighbouring countries have capped energy price increases, cut VAT on bills and offered meaningful financial support to the most vulnerable. The UK Tory government has sat on its hands – and both Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss have said nothing.”

On Saturday, Truss accused devolved leaders in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland of playing “political games” rather than delivering for voters.

Her comments came after she sparked controversy by denouncing Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon as an “attention seeker”, suggesting she would ignore her demands for a fresh referendum on independence.