Boris Johnson jets off to Marbella without appointing devolution minister
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”.
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”