Michael Gove has refused to publish internal government polling on support for independence and instead claimed that Brexit will be a “ding dong for the Union”.
The Cabinet Office Minister came under pressure from SNP MPs to publish the Downing Street polling which they suspect shows support for independence is higher than 55 per cent in published polling.
In the Commons Tommy Sheppard MP asked whether Gove would publish the research “since it is paid for by the taxpayer”.
Gove confirmed that the UK government does undertake research which, he said, “reveals that across the UK people believe that it’s vitally important that governments work together in order to deal with the current Covid pandemic and I think it is important that the good co-operation we’ve recently enjoyed with the Scottish Government continues.”
SNP MP David Linden accused Gove of behaving like a “slippery fish” by avoiding the question.
But that gave the Scottish-born Minister a chance to quote the Scottish bard, Robert Burns.
Gove replied: “Talking about fish, slippery or otherwise, one of the benefits of leaving the EU is that we will be taking back control of our territorial waters and it will be the case that there will be new jobs and investment in the north east of Scotland as a result of the leaving the EU.”
He added: “We don’t need any opinion polling to tell us that will be a Brexit boost for the north east. These are facts, and ‘facts are chiels that winna ding’.
“So that’s a ding dong for the Union.”