Boris Johnson has denied that he opposes devolution as he attempted to end a major row in Scotland caused after he branded the creation of the Scottish Parliament a “disaster”.
In an address to the Scottish Conservatives virtual conference, the Prime Minister claimed his leaked comments, made in an online call to northern English Tory MPs, had not been reported “entirely accurately” and suggested he had been referring to the SNP’s “abysmal” performance in government.
Mr Johnson was reported as telling MPs that devolution had been “a disaster north of the border” and was Tony Blair’s “biggest mistake”.
His comments dismayed Scottish Tories, with the Holyrood elections just six months away and the SNP already on course to claim a majority and a new mandate for a second independence referendum.
In recorded remarks to the conference, Mr Johnson said: “I know comments I made the other day on devolution have been widely reported, leaked, not entirely accurately, but never mind.
“But since no press were in the room, I’ll give you my unvarnished view: the way the SNP have handled devolution in Scotland has been a disaster – from plummeting education standards, low business confidence and the lowest satisfaction ever in public services – their record is abysmal.
“The key is to have policies to show how devolution can work for Scotland, the people in Scotland, rather than the SNP obsession with making devolution work against the rest of the UK.”
Read more: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2020/11/21/johnson-tells-scottish-tories-supports-devolution-attempt-draw/
Subscribe to The Telegraph on YouTube ► https://bit.ly/3idrdLH
Get the latest headlines: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/
Telegraph.co.uk and YouTube.com/TelegraphTV are websites of The Telegraph, the UK’s best-selling quality daily newspaper providing news and analysis on UK and world events, business, sport, lifestyle and culture.