Breakfast politics briefing: Indyref 'chaos' if Brexit delayed | War of words over Scotrail franchise

Andrew Bowie
Andrew Bowie
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Welcome to The Scotsman’s morning politics briefing. Here’s all you need to know for the day ahead.

Boris Johnson warns of chaos and indyref2 if Brexit is delayed

Boris Johnson. Picture: PA

Boris Johnson. Picture: PA

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has warned that any delay to the UK's departure from the EU will lead to a year of chaos and cacophony, as well as a second referendum on Scottish independence and a re-run of the Brexit vote.

In his speech to Conservative Party conference today, Mr Johnson will tell party delegates: “Corbyn wants to turn the whole of 2020, which should be a great year for this country, into the chaos and cacophony of two more referendums – a second referendum on Scottish independence, even though the people of Scotland were promised that the 2014 vote would be a once in a generation vote, and a second referendum on the EU, even though we were promised that the 2016 vote would be a once in a generation vote."

He will also give details on a 'final offer' he will make to the European Union to prevent a no-deal. (Full story in the Scotsman)
Row over Abellio contract

A furious war of words has broken out over calls from Scottish Labour to end the Dutch train operator Abellio's contract to run Scotland's railways.

Scottish Labour's transport spokesman Colin Smyth said: "It is clear that the absolute mismanagement of Scotland's railways has led to anger among passengers, transport staff, and the unions that represent them.

Abellio hit back, saying: "Scottish Labour's motion (to end the contract) threatens not only the long-term vision for the railway it creates uncertainty for thousands of staff and 1 million passengers." (Full story in the Scotsman)
Scottish Tories 'brought into line'

The anger reported within the Scottish Conservative party over interim leader Jackson Carlaw reversing their opposition to a no-deal Brexit is unlikely to be sated by his comments that the party has been 'brought into line' with the UK Government.

There were reports that some of Mr Carlaw's shadow cabinet were left in a 'cold fury' over the move, but Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said that MSPs, including former leader Ruth Davidson, had been consulted about the move.

Mr Jack told STV: "He's bringing the Scottish Conservatives into line with the rest of the UK party."

MP tells Boris Johnson to 'mind his language'

Scotland's only female Conservative MP has chided Prime Minister Boris Johnson for his language amid a continuing debate over politicians' use of aggressive and militaristic metaphors.

Angus MP Kirstene Hair has said she is near the top of the 'abuse scale' due to vitriol aimed at her on the internet.

She wrote in her local paper criticising the rhetoric used by the Prime Minister and senior figures within the SNP Government. (Full story in the Times)
Giving Scotland control of Edinburgh Castle 'a mistake'

A senior Scottish Tory MP has been mocked and criticised after suggesting it was a 'mistake' to hand control of Edinburgh Castle, arguably the country's most famous landmark, to the devolved Scottish Government.

Andrew Bowie, formerly a senior aide to ex-Prime Minster Theresa May, told a fringe meeting at the Conservative conference that it was shame that one of the 'fantastic assets' of the UK Government could not be used for official functions.

He said: "It's one of the fantastic assets of our United Kingdom, a British Army base, but it cannot be used for UK Government functions unless it's specifically in the army base parts of Edinburgh Castle." (Full story in the Scotsman)