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Government Government

Maintain a strong and stable Union

Last updated: 09:46pm 3 December 2019

A strong and stable Union, with no divisive Scottish referendum at this time.

Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.30

Our verdict

The Union referred to in this policy is the relationship – political, cultural, economic – between the constituent parts of the United Kingdom – England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. This is one of a number of broad policy positions outlined at the start of section two of the manifesto. As such, it is lighter on specifics than the more focused policies contained deeper into that section. Essentially, this is a promise to maintain good relations between the UK government and the constituent countries of the UK.

There are too many moving parts in this policy for us to give them all fair consideration in the space available here. Check out the long, long list of “Related Policies” below to get a sense of just how much is going on – click through to see verdicts for each individual policy. (We haven’t included policies relating to devolution within England below, but those can also be seen as contributing to attempts to maintain the Union)

With so much happening, this policy was always likely to be ‘in progress’ at best. It’s too broad and the determinants of its success change too often for it to ever be deemed ‘done’.

Possibly the most significant factor preventing this pledge from being fulfilled is the existence of the Scottish National Party (SNP) as the largest political party and most influential political force in Scotland. The SNP’s defining principle is that Scotland should be an independent nation, independent of the very Union this policy pledges to maintain. As long as the SNP remains the dominant force in Scottish politics, the Union cannot be considered “strong and stable”, despite the best efforts of any UK government. This policy, then, is ‘in progress’.

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Related Policies

There's always room for debate

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