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During a visit to Alness in the Scottish Highlands today to meet people in the hospitality industry, Mr Gove said that those who want to feel both Scottish and British should “not be forced to choose between the two”. He struck out at people who staged protests at the border on the A1 earlier this month as “a few bampots who don’t speak for Scotland”.
The Cabinet Office Minister dismissed the demonstration and said: “I think they’re just a few bampots who don’t speak for Scotland.
“You will always find some people in any situation who will engage in these sorts of stunts.
“They don’t speak for Scots and I know that’s the view of the First Minister as well.”
It comes amid rising support for Scottish independence with the latest polls from Panelbase revealing that support was at 54 percent.
When asked about polls showing rising support for Scottish independence, the Cabinet Office minister said devolution allows for “the best of both worlds”.
Speaking today, Mr Gove added: “I don’t think it would be a good idea for people who want to feel both Scottish and British, who want the best of both worlds, to be forced to choose.
“I think that what devolution allows is Scottish solutions to Scottish problems and UK support for every part of the country.
“And I think that an approach that respects Scotland’s distinct identity and Scots’ own priorities within the framework of the union, I think that’s the best way forward.”
Mr Gove said that it was important “not to be distracted by an opinion poll one month and an opinion poll the next month” stressing that the important thing was “to try to do what’s right”.
He continued: “Devolution, in the context of the United Kingdom, works for Scotland, it gives Scots the best of both worlds.
“Certainly my view is that we in the UK Government have a responsibility to work alongside the Scottish Government in order to deliver for Scottish people.”
Asked what would happen if the SNP won a majority in next year’s Holyrood election, calling for a second independence referendum, Mr Gove said the question was “hypothetical”.
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He said: “At the moment, I’m concentrating on doing my very best to help Scotland’s economy and Scottish citizens cope with the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic and build back stronger.
“My horizons at the moment don’t extend much beyond making sure that we can do the very, very best job helping the people of Scotland.”
Mr Gove is the second Tory politician to visit Scotland after PM Boris Johnson visited Orkney and Moray last week where he spoke about the “sheer strength of the union”.
However, the SNP hit out saying that Mr Johnson had visited Scotland because he was in “a panic mode” about a rise in support for independence.
When asked about Mr Johnson’s visit, Mr Gove added: “My own view is that we should put politics aside in order to concentrate on fighting the virus and defending public health.
“The Prime Minister’s visit last week was like any other he’d make to any part of the UK.”
At the same time, Mr Gove has had discussions with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon last Friday and is due to release a joint statement with the Scottish Government this week on progress on certain policy areas showing signs of cooperation.
Mr Gove, added: “I was talking to Nicola just last Friday and we agreed we would shortly release a shared statement across the UK about our approach towards the virus so whatever noises off we’ve had in the past, the right approach, the approach we discussed on Friday and shared on Saturday is to work well together.”
Express.co.uk has approached the SNP in response to Mr Gove’s visit today.
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