Nicola Sturgeon reacts as Boris Johnson quoted as saying 'devolution has been a disaster north of the border'
Prime Minister Boris Johnson reportedly said that ‘devolution has been a disaster north of the border’ and it was ‘Tony Blair's biggest mistake’ in a meeting of around 60 Northern Tory MPs.
The Prime Minister hosted an hour-long Zoom meeting today with members of the Northern Research Group where he reportedly thanked them for “setting up the group which he said will be crucial to this Government’s agenda to unite and level up the entire country”.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon hit back at the comments on Twitter, saying: “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. The only way to protect & strengthen @ScotParl is with independence.”
Leader of the Scottish Tories, Douglas Ross responded to Ms Sturgeon, saying: “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.”
MP and SNP Westminster group leader Ian Blackford also took to Twitter showing his support for Ms Sturgeon, saying: “Oh dear oh dear so much for the new softer respectful approach, well that has not lasted. @BorisJohnson attitude explains the power grab of the internal market bill, devolution to be dismantled our Parliament under attack. We can stop his wrecking ball, it is called independence.”
The meeting covered investment in technology and broadband with Mr Johnson celebrating the ‘fantastic infrastructure revolution’ they are already undertaking.
The Sun reported that the Prime Minister said he thought devolution was a good idea when he was the Mayor of London but told MPs that he currently did not ‘see a case’ handing down more powers from Westminster to the nations.
Mr Johnson said in the meeting: “Remember that we are the party of aspiration and opportunity, and we must continue with our strong beliefs in our country, its institutions and its history, and the opportunities for our future post-Brexit.”
Downing Street has not denied that Boris Johnson told Conservative MPs that ‘devolution has been a disaster north of the border’ and it was ‘Tony Blair’s biggest mistake’.
Instead, to questions over the controversial comments first reported by The Sun, a No 10 source said: “The PM has always supported devolution but Tony Blair failed to foresee the
rise of separatists in Scotland.
“Leaving the EU means we must strengthen and protect the UK economy with the UK Internal Market Bill.
“Devolution is great – but not when it’s used by separatists and nationalists to break up the UK."
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