BRITISH diplomats will be ordered to keep an eye on SNP ministers when they take trips overseas to stop them talking about Scottish independence, reports have claimed.

According to the Scottish Daily Mail, Westminster is becoming increasingly concerned about Scottish ministers meddling in reserved matters, including the constitution.

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly is now allegedly preparing to write to ambassadors around the world to highlight these fears and will ask them to make sure SNP ministers are always accompanied by UK diplomats on overseas trips.

It comes after a series of meetings between the Scottish Government and foreign governments where independence and Brexit have been talked about, such as when Constitution Secretary Angus Robertson discussed self-determination with Iceland’s Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir in October.

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Stephen Gethins, former SNP international affairs and Europe spokesperson, said the move suggests the UK feels “threatened” by the Scottish Government successfully spreading its message about independence in the EU.

His tweet, which was reshared by Nicola Sturgeon, said: “The Scottish Government’s message of returning to the international mainstream with independence in the EU must really be resonating with partners overseas if the UK Government feels this threatened by normal engagement that all devolved administrations undertake.”

Other SNP supporters online said the ploy by the UK Government suggested the party was “doing something right” while others pointed out how it proved the Union is not a voluntary one.

Some described the plan as “coercive”, “desperate” and “sinister”.

Scotland Office minister and Tory peer Malcolm Offord told the Daily Mail: "The Scotland Act is clear that foreign affairs is outside the competence of the Scottish Government and therefore they cannot and should not encroach into matters such as separatism or the constitution.

"We have been aware they have been doing that in recent times... and that will be very closely monitored in future."

The Tory party donor was introduced into the House of Lords in October 2021 after he failed to win a regional seat during the Holyrood elections of that year. 

Offord has also revealed Cleverly has held talks with Scottish Secretary Alister Jack where they reportedly shared concerns about overseas trips by representatives of the Scottish Government.

In the House of Lords yesterday, Labour peer Lord Foulkes of Cumnock said "there is outrage in Scotland at the Scottish Government spending an increasing amount of money on reserved areas".

Lord Offord of Garvel then said: "I can confirm that the Secretary of State for Scotland has met with the Foreign Secretary to discuss the matter of the Scottish Government’s activities internationally.

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"Both are very clear that any overseas engagements by the Scottish Government should not encroach on reserved matters and this will be kept under close review."

SNP leadership candidate Humza Yousaf pledged this week to appoint a senior figure to head up the Scottish Government strategy for re-joining the EU if he wins the race.

He is also planning to stage a European summit in Scotland if he is elected SNP leader and first minister.

It follows several attempts by the UK Government to seize control over Holyrood, after Jack decided to block the Gender Recognition Reform Bill from getting royal assent despite being voted for by an overwhelming majority of cross-party MSPs.

The UK Government has also been accused of a power-grab with its EU Retained Law Bill, which aims to repeal all bloc regulations in the UK.

The Scottish Government says it poses risks to environmental protections, food standards, animal welfare, and worker’s rights.

Robertson has called on the UK ministers to withdraw the bill after the Scottish Parliament voted to withhold its consent.

Robertson said in response: “The Foreign Secretary James Cleverly and I had a constructive meeting in November last year during which he acknowledged Scottish Ministers’ need to conduct international business.

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"I made it clear that I would continue to represent Scottish Government positions internationally, including on the constitution. When asked, he could not provide examples of Scottish Government Ministers acting inappropriately or seeking to represent UK Government positions internationally.

“There will clearly be issues where the UK Government and Scottish Government disagree, but there are important areas of shared interest, such as Scotland’s energy sector, where the UK Government must do more to support the Scottish Government in our international work.”

A Foreign Office spokesperson said: “The UK has one of the most extensive and highest quality diplomatic services in the world, with people across the UK involved in representing our interests abroad.

“We are delivering effectively in the interests of the whole of the UK, and we are clear that the constitution and foreign relations are reserved matters, and our energies should be focussed on promoting our interests and the good that we do around the world.”