THE EU referendum result should be a “wake-up call” on the future of the UK, a senior Scottish Tory claims.

In a paper published today, former Scottish Tory leadership candidate Murdo Fraser renews calls for a federal system, claiming this could save a fractured UK from the major differences in political outlook revealed in the EU referendum. The June 23 vote saw Scotland, Northern Ireland and London vote to remain in the European Union, while the rest of the UK voted to leave.

The paper, published online by independent political thinktank Reform Scotland, cites the election of 56 SNP MPs at the 2015 general election as one reason for boosting support for federalism, with Boris Johnson among supporters.

It says pressures on the union “appear to be greater than ever” and says the system would mean little change in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and create “strong city regions” in England.

The paper also states that the Scottish referendum campaign created a “very divided country” and claims federalism could sway Yes voters, adding: “It is hard to see that the UK is sustainable in an unreformed state if 45 per cent of the population of one component part wish to leave.”

Commenting on the publication, Fraser said: “The vote in the EU referendum shows that there are disparities in the way that different parts of our United Kingdom act and think politically.

“This should be a wake-up call to governments and politicians. If the UK is to continue, then it must be willing to continue to devolve power to its territories.

“The answer to this problem is federalism. Its time has come.”

He continued: “From a Scottish perspective, the most significant difference in creating a federal state would be that the existence of the Scottish Parliament would be entrenched in a written constitution.

“In England, we could move to a situation of a network of strong city regions. These would be areas of administrative devolution, not legislative.

“That would leave a de facto English parliament, sitting within the House of Commons at certain times.

“And it would also allow us to deal, for good, with two other constitutional problems: the West Lothian Question and reform of the House of Lords.

“The latter could be replaced with a senate, providing equal representation for each federated part of the UK.”