The Queen could be removed as head of state if Scotland votes for independence, a senior SNP minister has said. Kenny MacAskill, the Scottish justice minister, said ‘it will be for the people of Scotland to decide’ if the country becomes a republic or remains a monarchy. Alex Salmond’s official policy is that the monarchy would be automatically be retained if Scotland decides to secede – but many in his party are staunch republicans. Mr MacAskill’s intervention in support of a referendum on becoming a republic at some point after independence is achieved further undermines the First Minister’s position. A poll out this weekend shows the gap between the ‘yes’ and ‘no’ votes in the independence plebiscite has narrowed. The survey, conducted by ICM Research, found that 39 per cent would vote ‘yes’ in the referendum – an increase of two percentage points on the previous month. The percentage of ‘no’ votes fell from 49 in February to 46 per cent, leaving the proportion of ‘don’t knows’ at 15 per cent (down one percentage point on last month).