Boris Johnson hails Union as ‘great achievement’ after Douglas Ross comments

Boris Johnson has said he values the Union as “one of the great achievements of this country”, following comments from Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross about “defeatism” over Scottish independence.

The Prime Minister said he did not think Mr Ross was referring to him when he spoke about Conservatives who were making “the case for separation”.

During a speech to the Conservatives’ virtual conference on Saturday, Mr Ross hit out at Tories south of the border who showed “defeatism and disinterest” around the Union.

The Moray MP said: “The case for separation is now being made more effectively in London than it ever could in Edinburgh.”

Douglas Ross
Douglas Ross

The Prime Minister was asked about these comments when he appeared on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show on Sunday.

Mr Johnson said: “I think he was talking about those who don’t value the Union in the way that I do and I think that the Union is one of the great achievements of this country.

“And by the way, I think its value, its use has been amply demonstrated during this crisis.

“Not just in the way the armed services have helped deliver tests around the country, but the way the financial support for the whole UK has been delivered by HMT, by the Treasury.”

The Prime Minister was asked if Brexit and his own “political personality” were responsible for driving the case for independence.

He said Brexit would be a “huge opportunity” for Scotland and said his Government’s Internal Market Bill would involve the devolution of new powers including control over fisheries.

The Prime Minister added: “It seems absolutely incredible to me that the Scottish Nationalist Party should actually be supporting a policy of you know, literally handing back control of Scottish fisheries to Brussels.

“Abandoning the future prospects of young people growing up in Scotland who have a great future in that industry.”

Asked whether he would grant a second Scottish independence referendum if the SNP win a majority in next year’s Holyrood elections, Mr Johnson said: “This country has a big job of building back better from coronavirus and I don’t think this is the time, quite frankly, for us to have another referendum.

“We had a referendum in 2014, we were told it was a once in a generation event… by the leaders of the SNP and six years doesn’t seem to me (to be) a generation.”