Boris Johnson is planning to form a “union task force” to boost the case for the UK and stem support for independence.
Downing Street confirmed this afternoon that the group will be one of several task forces, designed to allow MPs to feed into policy areas.
Backbench Tory MPs often complained in the Dominic Cummings era that they were “shut out” from policy making.
With Mr Cummings’ exit, the task forces are believed to be one of several olive branches from Number 10 to MPs.
Asked about the union task force, the prime minister’s spokesman said: “We’re considering a number of task forces to engage parliamentary colleagues on key policy areas.
“We want to give MPs a chance to feed in to issues that are enormously important because we value their opinion. We haven’t yet considered exactly the form it will take.”
The spokesman said Number 10 are “keen to take on different points of view” to ensure the government’s union policy is as effective as it can be.
The announcement comes after a series of missteps by the prime minister that have been seen to weaken the bonds between England and Scotland.
Minister for the Union
Scottish Tories on Tuesday scrambled to limit the damage from Mr Johnson’s comments to northern English Tory MPs on Monday that devolution had been a “disaster north of the border” and the Scottish parliament was the “greatest mistake” of former prime minister Tony Blair.
More than a dozen opinion polls in recent months have suggested for the first time that a sustained majority of voters in Scotland would back independence after three centuries of the union with England, a rise in support that has sparked alarm in Downing Street.
Supporters of the prime minister say Mr Johnson, who last year added “minister for the union” to his title, is acutely aware that Scotland’s breakaway from the UK would likely result in the end of his premiership.