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Boris Johnson has ‘declared war on devolution’ claims Labour former Scottish First Minister

21 Mar 2021 2 minute read
Boris Johnson. Picture by Kuhlmann /MSC (CC BY 3.0 DE).

A former Labour First Minister for Scotland has warned that Boris Johnson has “declared war” on devolution and that all parties who believe in devolution should come together to resist him.

Henry McLeish said the Prime Minister is seeking to “wreck” the devolution settlement through the new internal market legislation.

“There is no acknowledgement from him that our disunited kingdom requires serious reform,” he wrote in the Sunday Scottish National.

“Instead, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are viewed as being out of step, irritating and ungrateful.”

He warned his fellow Scots that “if sensible reforms of the Union are ignored by this Government or Westminster and if Johnson succeeds in damaging a great experiment in Scotland, then Scots will face a choice between staying, on Boris Johnson’s terms, or leaving the Union.”

“Under Boris Johnson, dangerous times lie ahead. It is time for all the parties to show some unity around defending our Parliament and the 1998 settlement.”

He referred to the Internal Market Bill as “more than a power grab,” saying that “the spirit of Brexit, ‘taking back control’ is being ruthlessly applied”.

Westminster decided to press ahead with the Internal Market Bill despite the Welsh and Scottish Parliaments voting against it.

Wales’ Brexit Minister Jeremy Miles described it in December as an “outrageous attack on [the Senedd’s] legislative competence made by the UK Government through the UK Internal Market Bill, to which the Senedd has rightly refused consent”.

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