THE UK’s former Brexit negotiator and vocal Liz Truss supporter has described the idea of Scottish independence as “morally wrong” and called for devolution to “evolve back”.

Writing in The Telegraph, former minister Lord Frost offers a series of suggestions to prime ministerial hopeful Truss on how she can “fight back” against the SNP.

He includes a plan to make independence “impossible” to achieve, by introducing legislation demanding three-quarters of Holyrood seats are pro-independence over the span of a decade.

Other proposals include changing UK Government language to stop referring to the “four nations” and instead describe the UK as a “unitary state”, and reminding the SNP that the Scottish Government is a “subordinate entity”.

Nicola Sturgeon has warned that the comments prove "the Tories are coming for devolution".

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Devolution can "evolve back"

Lord Frost adds that the “devolution settlement is not written in stone” – suggesting that as it has evolved since 1999 “it can evolve back, too”.

The peer calls for the new prime minister to “police” boundaries between reserved and devolved matters more severely, stopping Holyrood from straying into “foreign relations or immigration”.

He points to the Scottish Government being able to make policy on which countries people could travel from during the pandemic, and opening overseas hubs to promote Scotland.

These eight international offices exist to attract investment to Scotland, help businesses expand their trade and improve research and innovation partnerships.

“If the UK Government does not police these boundaries, soon they will no longer exist,” he writes.

"A referendum should simply be impossible"

Lord Frost goes on to offer a plan to stop independence from effectively ever being achieved.

The National:

“Of course, any government would have to respect the settled will of an overwhelming majority in Scotland to govern themselves,” he says. “But those terms have to be defined. I would suggest 75% of seats in the Scottish Parliament in favour of independence, over a 10-year period, legally binding. Without that, a referendum should simply be impossible.”

"Morally wrong"

Boris Johnson’s former Brexit minister also has a message for people in England who argue in favour of letting Scotland go if it so desires.

“Partly because the break-up of the country would be a massive national humiliation,” he claims.

“In Europe and beyond, it would be seen as a comeuppance which they would exploit to the full. But, more importantly, because it is morally wrong.”

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Lord Frost suggests this is because pro-Union Scots would be “abandoned” if an independence vote were to be successful.

"The Tories are coming for devolution"

"Make no mistake, the Tories are coming for devolution," Sturgeon tweeted in response to the article. 

"If we don’t decide to entrench @scotparl through independence, it’s powers will be eroded - forced, according to this by one of the architects of the Brexit disaster, to ‘evolve back’."

The SNP’s shadow secretary of state for Scotland, Mhairi Black MP added that Frost's remarks "fly completely in the face" of the idea that Scotland is an "equal partner" within the UK.

“Frost’s comments expose the ugly reality beneath Tory rhetoric around Scotland being a valued partner and show that under Truss there will be a concerted plot to dismantle the devolution settlement the Scottish people voted for overwhelmingly 25 years ago."

Black (below) said that push would be "resisted at every turn" by Scotland's people.

The National:

“If Truss has even a shred of respect for the devolution settlement and Scotland’s democratically elected government she would disavow Lord Frost’s comments immediately and completely rule out his return to government, in any capacity," the MP went on.

“The people of Scotland voted for an independence referendum when they elected another SNP Government, and pro-independence majority parliament, in 2021. It isn’t for any unaccountable, unelected Lord or Thatcher-wannabe Tory leadership contender to say when or if that referendum should happen.

“It is clearer by the day that a Truss premiership would see a wholesale assault on devolution and a constant moving of the goalposts for Scots’ rights to seek self-determination and an escape from Westminster."  

Meanwhile, Scottish Greens MSP Ross Greer told The National that "the last thing" people in Scotland want to hear is unelected Conservative Lord "lecturing them about morality and accountability". 

"This man was a senior minister in a cruel and incompetent government that Scotland rejected and which has inflicted a cost-of-living emergency," he said. 

"He has since made a minor name for himself by campaigning against the Brexit deal he personally negotiated, which says a lot about his competence and abilities. Frost may have said the quiet part out loud, but, watching Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak doubling down on their contempt for Holyrood, it is clear that his Tory colleagues have the same disdain for our democracy as he does."

"One of the many benefits of Scottish independence is that we will finally be able to take our future into our own hands and follow a different path, rather than constantly being talked down to by life peers we didn't choose and can't get rid of."

While Frost's message on independence and devolution goes further than the Tory candidates have expressed publicly, it comes after Truss suggested that Scotland’s democratically elected First Minister should be “ignored”.

It is not the first time Lord Frost has called for devolution to be rolled back – in February, he suggested that Covid demonstrated the “nonsense” of the four nations having different rules and called on Johnson to “unite” the UK to save his job.