Boris Johnson a threat to the UK "every time he opens his mouth", warns Keir Starmer
Sir Keir Starmer has labelled Boris Johnson as the single biggest threat to the UK, “every time he opens his mouth”.
Speaking at PMQs, the Prime Minister came under fire from both Labour and the SNP, after reports he had told a group of MPs that devolution had been a “disaster” and “Tony Blair’s biggest mistake”.
Responding to Starmer, Johnson claimed his comments had been directed at SNP policy decisions on education and health, and that he had benefited from devolution while he was mayor of London.
Instead of claiming devolution was a disaster, he said he had been referring to the SNP's attempts to “constantly campaign for the breakup of our country and to turn devolution - an otherwise sound policy which I benefited from - into a mission to break up the UK.”
Johnson also faced criticism from SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford, who claimed the comment from Johnson “wasn't just a slip of tongue – it was a slip of the Tory mask”.
He said: “We know these aren’t just flippant remarks, when Scotland faces the biggest threat to devolution with the Tory Power Grab Bill.
"The chasm between Westminster and the Scottish people has never been bigger. 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 we didn’t vote for.
"Scotland cannot afford another twenty years of Westminster damage. It is clearer than ever, that the only way to protect Scotland’s interests, our Parliament and our place in Europe, is to become an independent country."
But Johnson rejected the comments, with the PM instead warning that SNP plans for an independent Scotland to re-join the EU would mean a “massive surrender of power by the people of Scotland straight back to Brussels”.
He said: “What the UK does as a whole is far, far bigger, better and more important than what we could do as individual nations and regions.
“I think when you look at the way the UK has pulled together during this pandemic, the way the armed services have worked to get testing through the whole of the UK and the way the furlough scheme has been deployed across the UK, the billions and billions that has been found to help people across the whole of the UK, businesses in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, I think the UK has shown its value and will continue to show its value.”