Leader comment: Does Boris Johnson care about Scotland?

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Critics are calling it the “submarine strategy”. This is where Boris Johnson carefully avoids media interviews and ducks public scrutiny leaving the rest of the Conservative leadership hopefuls to beat each other up on the docks. Then he sails into harbour next month waving the Union flag in victory.

Mr Johnson has carried out just one newspaper interview since Theresa May stood down as Tory leader last week, and we desperately need to hear more from him. He is, after all, the favourite to succeed Mrs May and needs to be tackled on a number of issues, not least his view of Scotland and the union.

Mr Johnson has given just one interview since Theresa May stood down. Picture: Getty

Mr Johnson has given just one interview since Theresa May stood down. Picture: Getty

Mr Johnson might be unionist but how is he showing it? What are his plans and his policies?

Right now, it’s not looking too rosy for Scotland. A pledge to raise the threshold for higher rate income tax from £50,000 to £80,000 would need to be paid for by Scots through higher National Insurance contributions. Under devolution, the Scottish Government has powers over income tax rates but not National Insurance. Our splash today suggests a rowing back of this policy – but did he not realise the consequences for Scotland or does he not care?

His bullishness around No Deal also suggests little thought for Scottish voters who have rejected the whole concept of Brexit.

The prospect of the former Mayor of London bumbling around 10 Downing Street giving barely a thought to Scotland is one that only the SNP leadership could wish for. What fertile ground this would provide for a second independence referendum.

So, if Mr Johnson does care about the United Kingdom he should tell us why and how he plans to make the case for it to thrive, just as the SNP is making the case for Scotland to thrive outside it.

Mr Johnson will officially launch his bid today, when he will take questions from the media. It is time he prioritised the future of all parts of the United Kingdom in his thinking otherwise Boris could become known as the buffoon who sank the union.