Boris Johnson: Devolution has ‘absolutely not’ been a disaster for the United Kingdom

The Prime Minister has said that UK devolution has “absolutely not” been a disaster.

Boris Johnson has said devolution has "absolutely not" been a disaster for the United Kingdom.

The Prime Minister said he had benefited from devolution himself by equating his experience as mayor of London to that of the administrations governing Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Mr Johnson was speaking from a coronavirus vaccination centre at Cwmbran Stadium in South Wales on Wednesday.

Prime minister Boris Johnson during a visit to South Wales Police Headquarters in Bridgend. Picture date: Wednesday February 17, 2021. PA Photo.Coronavirus. Photo credit : Alastair Grant/PA Wire

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He was asked if he considered devolution a "disaster", following comments he was reported to have made to Conservative MPs in relation to Scotland.

He said: "I think that a lot of people looking at the way the NHS across our whole country has performed, the way the armed services have been so valuable, the way the drugs that we have had been procured nationally, invented nationally, I think people can see the strength of the Union."

Asked the same question again, Mr Johnson said: "Certainly not overall. Absolutely not. I speak as the proud beneficiary of devolution when I was running London.

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He added: "I think that devolution can work very well, but it depends very much on what the devolved authorities do."

Mr Johnson sparked a row in November last year when he reportedly told the Northern Research Group of backbenchers that devolution had been "a disaster north of the border" and "Tony Blair's biggest mistake".

At the time, Downing Street sources did not deny the Prime Minister had made the comments but attempted to clarify his position, claiming he has "always supported devolution", though "not when it's used by separatists and nationalists to break up the UK".

Reporting by PA

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