THE Prime Minister has backed a review of the Scottish Government’s work on independence insisting it is “right” for the probe to go ahead.

Rishi Sunak gave his support to an investigation currently being undertaken by Simon Case, the Cabinet Secretary and head of the UK Civil Service, on the Scottish Government’s spending on independence.

Case previously told the House of Lords Constitution Committee on July 18 that the UK Government is probing spending on independence and the role of Jamie Hepburn, the Minister for Independence, as well as the civil servants tasked with working with him.

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The row deepened last week when First Minister Humza Yousaf published the fifth independence whitepaper focusing on Scottish citizenship.

The publication sparked a furious response from Scottish Secretary Alister Jack, who accused Holyrood ministers of being “simply irresponsible” for using public funds and civil service resources on producing the document.

Case has already said that new guidance could be issued to civil servants working for the Holyrood administration within weeks.

Speaking to journalists in Aberdeenshire on Monday, Sunak said: “What’s right is that, as the head of the civil service, it’s Simon Case, the Cabinet Secretary, who conducts a review of that particular situation and I think it’s right that we let that continue.”

The National: The PM and Jack at Shell's St Fergus plant in AberdeenshireThe PM and Jack at Shell's St Fergus plant in Aberdeenshire (Image: PA)

The PM said that the UK Government was “focused on delivering for the people of Scotland”, adding that ordinary Scots did not want to see “more constitutional wrangling at this moment in time”.

It comes after Jack alleged that the Scottish Government was putting its “obsession with independence ahead of pressing priorities in Scotland” in a letter to Yousaf last week.

The Scottish Secretary, who joined the PM on a visit to Shell’s St Fergus Gas Plant amid an announcement on oil and gas licences, said he stood by his previous remarks.

“I think taxpayer money should be spent on public services in Scotland, that’s where the focus should be,” Jack said.

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“We’re very clear about that and Simon Case has said he’s looking into it, and he’s looking into it, but it is important that that doesn’t have any political interference.”

Jack said in his letter that the Scottish Government must “cease being distracted by independence” and work with Whitehall officials to “deliver for business and people in Scotland”, amid growing tensions between the UK and Scottish Government over independence spending and planning.

The FM has already made clear he is “confident in our position” in terms of the Scottish Government’s independence papers, saying that it “speaks volumes” that the SNP’s opponents are “trying to shut down the debate instead of bringing forward their proposals for maintaining the Union”.

The National: The latest independence whitepaper has caused tensions to increase between both governmentsThe latest independence whitepaper has caused tensions to increase between both governments

The spokesman for the First Minister has also said: “The Scottish Government was elected with a clear mandate to provide the people of Scotland with the information they need to make an informed choice about their future.”

Previously, SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn accused Case of having a “partisan political agenda” after the probe on independence spending was confirmed.

It came after Case told the Lords committee that “civil servants in Scotland and Wales can only spend their money on areas that are within their competence”, before confirming that the constitution is a reserved matter.

Flynn blasted the comments and said that any attempts to stop work on independence will only “boost support” even further.