By | June 17, 2019

The Tories must take their threats to the Scottish Parliament off the table and defend devolution against a Boris Johnson premiership, the SNP has said.

Scottish Tory MPs this week demanded that Westminster ride roughshod over the devolution settlement by directly funding projects in Scotland – in breach of Treasury rules and the Scotland Act.

The startling demand follows the UK government’s Brexit power grab over devolved areas, such as agriculture and fishing, currently held at a European level.

The power grab is a clear breach of referendum promises that powers held at a European level would “automatically” return to Holyrood.

The new threat to devolution comes as Boris Johnson became a clear favourite to be next Prime Minister – with a long track record of questioning the devolution settlement and threatening cuts to Scottish public spending.

Boris Johnson has:

•    described the Barnett formula as “reckless”, “amazing political antiquity”, “a kind of present” and complained that England was “short-changed”
•    attacked Scotland having tax-raising powers, asking “what has England ever got out of this devolution process”
•    argued that a “pound spent in Croydon or Tottenham… will generate far more for the rest of the economy than a pound spent in Strathclyde.” He added “If it causes Celtic wailing, then I’m willing to go there and make the case that it’s right for them too”

Commenting, SNP Depute Leader Keith Brown said:

“Not so long ago the Scottish Tories were frantically briefing that Ruth Davidson would stand in the way of Boris Johnson’s leadership ambitions.

“As always, when the winds shift the Scottish Tories change their minds.

“Not only are they content with Boris Johnson as Prime Minister, Ruth Davidson’s Tories are demanding he ignores two decades of devolution and bypasses our democratically elected parliament.

“That’s an extraordinary development – and puts the Tories on the wrong side of public opinion and the wrong side of history.

“The public rightly expect politicians from all parties to defend our hard-won Parliament.

“The Tories must urgently take this threat to devolution off the table.”