Johnson has always fully supported devolution, but opposes those trying to separate the UK – PM’s spokesperson

A spokesman for Boris Johnson has dispelled suggestions that the PM is against devolution, and claims he will stand firm against those trying to break up the UK, taking another jab at the Scottish National Party.

The remarks on Tuesday follow reports that Johnson told Tory MPs in a virtual meeting on Monday that “devolution has been a disaster north of the border.” 

“The PM has always fully supported devolution and this government continues to put the union at the heart of everything that we do,” the spokesman told reporters, without referring specifically to Johnson’s earlier comments.

The spokesman did not mention the Scottish National Party (SNP) by name, but elaborated on remarks made by Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick, who said the SNP had “misused” the powers devolved to them by trying to break up the UK in seeking Scottish independence. 

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“[Johnson] will always stand against those trying to separate the United Kingdom. He is very clear that he rejects the call to break up the UK,” the PM’s spokesman added. 

In a broad response to renewed calls for a Scottish independence referendum in 2021, the spokesperson added that Scotland would receive a “power surge” as EU powers were transferred to Edinburgh after Brexit. 

A small but public spat erupted between Westminster and Holyrood following Johnson’s reported comments about devolution.

On Monday evening, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon accused Johnson of being a threat to the powers of the Scottish Parliament. 

And on Tuesday morning, Jenrick labelled the SNP as “deluded”, adding that it should be focusing on the Covid pandemic and not another independence referendum.

Johnson has repeatedly said he won’t give Scotland a second referendum. “We were told it was a once-in-a-generation event and six years does not seem to me to be a generation,” the PM said in October.

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