Boris Johnson’s advisor on the union is quitting number 10 Downing Street after a furious bust up over strategy to save the UK.
According to the Financial Times, Luke Graham, the former MP for Ochil and South Perthshire, is leaving after “brutal” row on Friday, the day after the Prime Minister returned from a visit to Scotland
There have been serious disagreements over how to counter growing calls for Scottish independence and it is understood that he was unhappy with his role.
Oliver Lewis, a key Tory figure in last year’s Brexit trade negotiations, is going to be leading what one of the officials said would be a “beefed-up union unit”, which has been created to stop the breakup of the UK.
Some insiders have claimed Luke Graham did not have the authority to do his job.
‘Lack of strategy’
According to one Scottish Tory said: “Luke was the only Scottish person in there, it’s a big shame he’s gone and speaks to their total lack of a strategy on how to deal with the SNP.”
One told the FT: “There was a lack of faith in letting him do what he needed to do. A lot of his efforts were frustrated by other people in the building”
Another said Graham “improved the focus of the government on delivering for Scotland and all parts of the UK”
But others in No10 are far more critical: “Luke had gradually pissed off more and more people. He didn’t endear himself to other spads, ministers or civil servants. No one was weeping to see him go”
According to one official: “They did such a bad job of sacking him, he didn’t realise he had been sacked. The HR was appalling.”
He will now be moving to Scotland to help the Scottish Tory party’s campaign for May’s Holyrood elections.
Plaid Cymru Westminster leader Liz Saville-Roberts said the union unit was “yet another half-baked Johnson initiative”.
“A change of personnel can’t breathe life into this lost cause. Wales will find a future of hope and ambition through independence,” she said.
No10 and Graham declined to comment.