Westminster has been accused of burying the findings of an opinion poll on Scottish independence because it apparently showed a "surge" in support for independence.
The SNP have now called on the UK government to publish the "secret" independence referendum poll, which was reportedly paid for by £46,500 of taxpayers' money and subjected to a news blackout.
The survey, conducted by Ipsos MORI, was apparently revealed by Kelly Brown, who sent a letter to a newspaper claiming that she worked for the firm and that the results had not been published because they showed a surge in people backing Scottish independence.
In the letter, she wrote: “A recent poll commissioned by the Cabinet office was ‘buried’ as it returned a result which showed the Yes vote was soaring," The Scotsman reported.
But Ipsos MORI took to Twitter to say that no one by the name of Kelly Brown is employed by the company.
@YesVoteScots Hello. We can confirm we do not employ anyone called Kelly Brown at Ipsos MORI.
— Ipsos MORI (@IpsosMORI) May 12, 2014
Nevertheless, the claims have sparked cries of outrage from SNP MPs and members of the public, who have demanded the Government publish the report.
Many took to Twitter to voice their concerns:
— Ray (@YesScot89) May 13, 2014
— abigdoob (@abigdoob) May 13, 2014
SNP MP Angus MacNeil claimed in the Commons on Tuesday that the Government was not being honest with the public. He asked Nick Clegg: “Tory and Labour scare stories are not working. There should be no government secrecy. So will you be straight with the public on independence and publish this poll? There’s no reason that this should be kept secret.”
Clegg replied: “I’ve learnt to try and be a bit wary about opinion polls. The only poll that counts is the poll that’s going to happen on September 18 and I very much hope, and I think people even like myself who don’t have a vote, those of us south of the border, fervently hope the Scottish people will decide to remain part of the family of nations that makes up the United Kingdom.
“Because there is so much that we can do together that we simply cannot do apart and that’s very much the argument that I hope will prevail on September 18.”
The call for the poll to be published was repeated by the SNP's Treasury spokesman, Stewart Hosie, on Wednesday - the day UK Chancellor George Osborne appears before the Scottish affairs committee at Westminster.
He said: "We know the coalition have spent an eye watering £46,500 of public money on voting intentions in the referendum, and have now locked it up in a vault in Whitehall."
And First Minister Alex Salmond backed the call for transparency calling the alleged cover-up "unacceptable.”
“No matter how uncomfortable the results may be for Westminster and the No campaign, they now have to publish this poll’s findings," he said.
The UK Cabinet Office said it was not usual practice to publish "internal research".
A spokesman for the Cabinet Office Devolution Team told The Sun: “We do research to identify information people require to help them make an informed decision. It is not usual practice to publish internal research.”