An independent Scotland would not necessarily keep the Queen as head of state, according to a senior Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP) minister.
Kenny MacAskill, the Scottish Justice Minster, reportedly said that if Scotland votes to leave the UK later this year a further referendum may be held to decide on the role of the monarchy.
Though many among the pro-independence campaign’s supporters would count themselves as republicans, the Queen maintains a strong degree of popularity in Scotland and maintains a residence at Balmoral Castle.
Alex Salmond has consistently maintained that the monarchy would automatically be maintained by an independent Scotland, alongside the pound and the country’s place as a member of the EU.
Yet according to reports in the Sunday Post, when asked about the Queen’s future role Mr MacAskill said the Scottish government wants her to maintain “the ceremonial capacity that she has”.
“But it will be for the people of Scotland to decide,” he added.
“If and when that would occur, if they wished to have a referendum, and we would hope we would become the government post-2016, it will be for whoever is in office then.”
A number of SNP ministers have now publicly explored the possibility of a referendum on removing the Queen as Scotland’s head of state, the Post reported, including Culture and External Affairs Secretary Fiona Hyslop and Children’s Minister Aileen Campbell.
Scottish Conservative deputy leader Jackson Carlaw told the newspaper: “You have to wonder whether there is truly anyone in Yes Scotland’s leadership or the SNP, other than the First Minister, who is in tune with the Scottish public’s continuing affection and support for the monarchy?
“There is surely little doubt that whatever promises and assertions are made before the referendum they would count for nothing if Scotland were to be seduced into voting yes.
“This motley alliance, including Kenny MacAskill, would then be doing all they could to pursue their minority republican views and it would be a tiger whose tail even Alex Salmond would struggle to hold.”