Prime Minister David Cameron has told friends that he will not resign if Scotland votes for independence in September, despite senior party members warning that it would plunge his premiership into crisis.
The Prime Minister has previously not stated what he would do if Scots vote to break away, although some high-ranking members of his party have said that he may have to go if he faces the shame of being the Prime Minister who presides over the breakup of the United Kingdom.
One unnamed senior member told the Daily Mail: “If Scotland goes it is going to be very difficult. He might have had little choice but if you are the Prime Minister that calls [Scottish First Minister Alex] Salmond’s bluff and loses, it’s unthinkable.”
Although the ‘no’ side has stayed in the lead since the start of the referendum campaign, its lead has fallen recently, leading to some people contemplating a shock victory for the independence campaign.
A source close to the Prime Minister denied that he would have to resign: “Better Together [the ‘no’ campaign] is cross-party, so this doesn’t arise. He would not resign – definitely not.
“In Scotland, Labour is the big, dominant political force. Does Ed Miliband have to resign too if there’s a yes vote? The SNP was elected with a clear majority in the Scottish parliament having said they would hold a referendum.
“We either moved ahead with that referendum or we blocked it. Do people really think the Prime Minister could have said to the people of Scotland: ‘You may have voted in favour of having a referendum but you can’t have one?'”
There have already been suggestions that a vote for independence would plunge the UK into an unprecedented constitutional crisis, especially if Labour win next year’s General Election. As the party will likely have to rely on Scottish MPs to maintain a majority in the House of Commons, a future Ed Miliband government would likely fall once those MPs have been evicted upon Scotland becoming independent.
Conservative MP Steve Brine added: “I hope we avoid a Labour government, but the polls suggest that is a possibility.
“Now Labour has 41 MPs in Scotland. Let’s suggest that Labour come back with a majority of 30 to 40 seats. What then happens? Does PM Ed Miliband have to legislate away his own majority, and the Labour government is no longer viable here in Westminster?
“That is another big scenario question, which we don’t hear an answer to.”