Boris Johnson called Scottish devolution disaster

Boris Johnson called Scottish devolution disaster

Downing Street has not denied reports that Boris Johnson called devolution in Scotland a “disaster”.

The Sun newspaper also said the prime minister had described it as predecessor Tony Blair’s “biggest mistake” in a meeting with Tory MPs.

The SNP has criticised Mr Johnson’s reported comments.

But government sources suggested the prime minister had been making “more of a reference” to the SNP’s running of Scotland than devolution in general.

Mr Johnson was in a Zoom meeting with Tory MPs representing dozens of seats in northern England when he is said to have made remarks.

He reportedly said that “devolution has been a disaster north of the border”.

Mr Blair’s Labour government brought in devolution for Scotland in 1999, including the setting up of a parliament in Edinburgh.

It has been suggested by some taking part in the MPs’ Zoom meeting that Mr Johnson was answering a question that had been put to him about devolution in England.

A Downing Street source: “The PM has always supported devolution, but Tony Blair failed to foresee the rise of separatists in Scotland…”Devolution is great – but not when it’s used by separatists and nationalists to break up the UK.”

Elections for the Scottish Parliament take place next May.

Ms Sturgeon’s SNP says a second referendum on independence – following Scotland’s vote against it in 2014 – should happen if her party wins. But Mr Johnson has ruled this out.

In response to the Sun’s report, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted: “Worth bookmarking these PM comments for the next time Tories say they’re not a threat to the powers of the Scottish Parliament – or, even more incredibly, that they support devolving more powers.”

She added that the “only way to protect and strengthen” the Scottish Parliament was through independence for Scotland.

But the leader of the Scottish Conservatives, Douglas Ross, tweeted: “Devolution has not been a disaster. The SNP’s non-stop obsession with another referendum – above jobs, schools and everything else – has been a disaster.”

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