Boris Johnson told visits to Scotland will lead to rise in support for independence

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford speaks during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Common

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford speaks during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons. Photograph: House of Commons. - Credit: PA

Boris Johnson has been warned that his planned visits to Scotland will only increase support for independence in the country.

As previously reported, Johnson is looking to head to different parts of the UK to increase support for the union, after the coronavirus crisis appeared to boost support for the devolved administrations.

But at Prime Minister's Questions, the Tory leader was told by the SNP's Westminster leader Ian Blackford that his visits north of the border will only increase support for a Yes vote in Scotland.

He told the Commons: 'Yesterday the Tory Party held a political cabinet with the prime minister in a panic about the majority in increasing support for Scottish independence. Apparently their great strategy amounts to more UK Cabinet ministers coming to Scotland.

'Can I tell the prime minister – the more Scotland sees of this UK government, the more convinced they are the need for Scotland's independence. A far better plan for the Tories would be to listen to the will of the Scottish people.'

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He asked: 'So before his visit tomorrow, will the prime minister call a halt to his government's full-frontal attack on devolution?'

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But Johnson denied any knowledge Blackford's claims, dismissing a suggestion of a post-Brexit power grab.

'He said: I really don't know what [Blackford] is talking about.

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'The only Bill I could think of that's before the House and will be coming before the House that I know enjoys cross-party support is the UK Internal Market Bill, although that is a massively devolutionary Bill which gives huge powers straight back from Brussels to Scotland, its principle purpose is to protect jobs and protect growth throughout the entire United Kingdom.'

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