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Boris Johnson jets off to Marbella without appointing devolution minister

11 Oct 2021 2 minutes Read
Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Picture by Chatham House (CC BY 2.0)

Boris Johnson has jetted off to Marbella to stay in a luxury villa without appointing a new devolution minister.

The UK Prime Minister moved minister for the Constitution and Devolution Chloe Smith to the Department of Work and Pensions in a significant reshuffle last month and has yet to replace her.

Johnson, who has gone for a sunshine break to the Costa del Sol as millions in the UK face soaring energy bills, a cruel benefit cut, empty supermarket shelves and higher petrol prices, has been criticised for leaving the post vacant.

Smith had been working with Michael Gove to “strengthen the Union” and drive “the government’s devolution agenda”. But no new announcements have come from the office of the Minister of State for the Constitution and Devolution since September 15 – the day before the reshuffle.

Labour peer Lord Foulkes said the oversight is “appalling” and that it shows the Prime Minister, who has given himself the title of ‘Minister for the Union’, doesn’t care about the constitution or improving it.

Scottish Conservative sources have told The Herald the failure to replace Smith was “embarrassing, and probably something No.10 hoped nobody would notice”.

‘Bungling’ 

Foulkes said: “Bungling Boris has overlooked the important area of the Constitution and Devolution in his botched reshuffle.

“This is a gift to the SNP who will add it to their grievance agenda but it is also infuriating for those of us who think a new Constitutional settlement is one of the key issues we face in modernising the United Kingdom.

“Members of the Common Frameworks Scrutiny Committee, who include Lords Hope, Keen, Bruce and me, have been working closely with Chloe Smith in trying to find an agreed way forward with the UK and devolved authorities on powers transferred from the EU.

“We are astonished at this appalling oversight.”

Ian Murray, Labour’s Shadow Scotland minister said: “Boris Johnson’s incompetence is endless.

“The SNP might be the ones driving the separatist campaign but the Tories are the biggest threat to the union.

“While the Tories and the SNP play their petty constitutional games, Labour are focussed on building a progressive future for every part of the UK”

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Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
11 days ago

Scottish Labour state Labour are building a progressive future for every part of the UK – I don’t see it. The UK Labour party, at the moment is useless and aimless. Besides, the best way to build a progressive Britain is through a British isles composed of independent countries working very closely together. That is the only way for everyone to become more prosperous not just the Eton crowd and those in the South East of England.

j humphrys
j humphrys
11 days ago
Reply to  Steve Duggan

Not too close, Steve.

Crwtyddol
11 days ago

And why should we expect anything better of Johnson? He’s a comic journalist, no more. He learnt how to drop certain phrases into a conversation whilst at Eton that to some make him sound learned; I was in school with people like that. But ultimately, he’s a fraud. What do you expect from a serial adulterer?

Arwyn
Arwyn
11 days ago

Labour haven’t a leg to stand on. In order to produce a functional UK, progressives need to dismantle the Tory hold on the state and reconstitute it. Labour had that opportunity under Blair’s huge majorities. Sadly that govenment disastrously cosied up to Neocons, pursued disastrous wars with dreadful consequences for peace and our security that has also allowed China and Russia to become a great deal more influential in various countries. They also ethusiastically followed Neoliberal economic doctrines to disastrous effect, paving the way for the Banking crisis, Brexit, the break up of the UK and the rise of far… Read more »

Philip Hucknall
Philip Hucknall
11 days ago
Reply to  Arwyn

and rebuild our relationship with our European friends 

 join and vote for Plaid Cymru. Let’s return a majority of independence supporting MP’s and MS’s at the next elections

So that is different from a couple of months ago when this party – its previous leader as a strong case in point – was widely rejected beyond its base?

Arwyn
Arwyn
11 days ago

I am in full agreement with Leanne Wood’s recent analysis. Thinking Labour will deliver independence is futile. The independence vote is split almost 50/50 between a party that stands on a policy of independence and one that doesn’t. It’s simple electoral arithmetic for the movement really. If you want independence, vote for it.

Wrexhamian
Wrexhamian
11 days ago

No, that’s the same party. He’s calling for increased support for that party in a future Senedd election. See where he wrote “join and vote Plaid Cymru”?

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
11 days ago

Do anyone seriously think Boris Johnson cares about Welsh or Scottish devolution. No. He’s an old Etonian. Their motto. “Born To Rule”. The Conservatives are not in the business of respecting political boundaries or national borders within Britain. It’s our way, no if & buts, they arrogantly say.. One English-size fits all. Why do you think Boris avoids scrutiny and smirks whenever interviewed. It’s all a game. He as an establishment figure looks down on the very people stupid enough to fall for his lies. And like a clown performs to the media to deflect questioning like all fascists and… Read more »

Philip Hucknall
Philip Hucknall
11 days ago
Reply to  Y Cymro

He’s an old Etonian. Their motto. “Born To Rule”

No. Their motto is Floreat Etona – may Eton flourish.

If you are going to insist on being hateful about a children’s school and do the WelshNat thing of having a pop at English children it is only respectful to get the language and facts right.

Grayham Jones
11 days ago

We in wales have got to stop being little Englanders and and be proud to be welsh kick all English party’s out of wales that’s the Tories Labour and all Brexit party’s start fighting for your children and grandchildren future in wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 it’s time for a new wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿

Philip Hucknall
Philip Hucknall
11 days ago
Reply to  Grayham Jones

kick all English party’s out of wales that’s the Tories Labour and all Brexit party’s start

On what basis is this “kicking” going to exist. Who will be doing the kicking? Are YesCymru doing a “Kicking on Bridges” event?

It is not necessary to kick them out as the population voted for them.

Observant
Observant
11 days ago
Reply to  Grayham Jones

Once again capital letters for ‘Englanders’ and ‘England’ but lower case for ‘Wales’!
Signs of an subliminal inferiority complex?
I’m minded to think that you’re cutting and pasting this comment at every opportunity!

Wrexhamian
Wrexhamian
11 days ago

It’s always possible that he hasn’t got the stomach for dealing with the matter, but my guess is that it’s a deliberate “oversight” intended to further humiliate the devolved governments in an attempt to demoralise them by making the issue appear unimportant. All he’ll succeed in doing is angering them further.

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