Publishedduration1 hour ago
media captionKeir Starmer criticises Johnson on devolution comments
Boris Johnson has denied “fuelling” the break up the UK after reportedly saying Scottish devolution was a “disaster”.
Sir Keir Starmer – who shares the PM’s opposition to Scottish independence – seized on the alleged comments at Prime Minister’s Questions.
“The single biggest threat to the future of the United Kingdom is the prime minister every time he opens his mouth,” the Labour leader told MPs.
The PM is said to have made the remarks in a call with Tory MPs on Monday.
He told them devolution – setting up separate Parliaments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – was “a disaster north of the border” and “Tony Blair’s biggest mistake”.
Sir Keir described devolution as “one of the proudest achievements of the last Labour government”.
He said the PM’s alleged remarks were not an “isolated incident” and accused him of “seriously undermining the fabric of the UK”.
“Does he agree that we need greater devolution across the UK?” asked the Labour leader.
media captionSNP Westminster Leader Ian Blackford say the ‘Tory mask has slipped on devolution’
The prime minister said devolution was a “sound policy”, which he himself had benefited from as mayor of London, but the SNP had turned it in to “a mission to break up the UK”.
“That, in my view, would be a disaster,” he added.
He was then told off by Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle for referring to the SNP as the “Scottish Nationalist Party”.
Sir Lindsay said: “Can I just say it’s the Scottish National Party, not the nationalist party.”
Mr Johnson replied: “Mr Speaker, I’m so sorry. They’re national but not nationalist. I see, right.”
The SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford said the prime minister’s “attack on devolution” was “not just a slip of the tongue, it was a slip of the Tory mask”.
“The fact is Scotland has been completely ignored by Westminster. We now face an extreme Brexit, a power grab and another round of Tory cuts all being imposed against our will by a Tory government that we didn’t vot