Sir Keir Starmer calls Boris Johnson ‘single biggest threat to UK’
Sir Keir Starmer has labelled Boris Johnson the “single biggest threat to UK”.
The Labour leader accused the Prime Minister of being a danger to the union over Mr Johnson’s claim that devolution had been “a disaster north of the border”.
At the first ever virtual Prime Minister's Questions, Sir Keir also issued a fiery riposte by insisting devolution was one of the last Labour government's finest acts.
He said: “So why did the Prime Minister tell his MPs this week that Scottish devolution is, in his words, a disaster?
"The single biggest threat to the future of the United Kingdom is the prime minister every time he opens his mouth on this.
"When the prime minister said he wanted to take back control nobody thought he meant from the Scottish people!
“But the prime minister's quote is very clear. He said devolution has been a disaster north of the border.”
He accused the PM of “seriously undermining the fabric” of the United Kingdom, and urged him to do better.
Sir Keir added: “So instead of talking down devolution does he agree that we need far greater devolution of powers and resources across the United Kingdom?”
Mr Johnson backtracked on his comments made to a meeting of Northern Tory MPs and insisted he believed devolution was a “sound policy”.
The PM said: "I think it's Tony Blair himself, the former Labour leader, who has conceded that he did not foresee the rise of a separatist party in Scotland, he did not foresee the collapse of Scottish Labour.
“I think the right honourable gentleman is quite right, there can be greater advantages in devolution, and I was very proud when I was running a devolved administration in London to do things in which I passionately believe – like improving public transport and fighting crime, improving housing for my constituents, and we had a great deal of success.
“What disappoints me is that the Scottish National Party is not engaging in that basic work.
“They're instead campaigning to break up the union, an objective that I hope that leader of the opposition will repudiate.”
The SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford also questioned the PM’s comments, and compared Scotland’s achievements to those made in Westminster.
He said: “Over the past twenty years, Westminster has imposed an extreme Brexit, an illegal war in Iraq, £9,000 Tuition Fees, the Windrush scandal, the rape clause, the bedroom tax, and a decade of Tory austerity cuts, which have pushed millions of people into poverty.
“It’s no wonder that the overwhelming majority of people in Scotland think Boris Johnson and Westminster are the real disaster.”
The clash came on the same day it emerged the PM is putting together a team to make the social and cultural case for the UK following a series of recent high-profile gaffes.
Expected to be launched in coming weeks, the taskforce would consist of Conservative MPs from England, Wales and Scotland.
Reporting to Downing Street, it would then help create policy ideas and plans to make a positive case for Scotland remaining part of the UK.
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