Matt Hancock says vaccine rollout shows strength of UK when 'we pull together' amid reports Boris Johnson will visit Scotland this week

Matt Hancock has claimed the vaccine rollout shows the strength of the UK when “we pull together”.

The UK Health Secretary made a passionate defence of the Union after being challenged on how he and his colleagues were protecting it.

Appearing at the Downing Street Press conference on Monday, Mr Hancock claimed the pandemic showed “we are stronger as one United Kingdom”.

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His pitch for Unionism comes amid reports the Prime Minister is set to visit Scotland this week in bid to save the Union.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson carries Oxford AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine for mobile distribution during a visit to Barnet FC's ground at the Hive. Picture: Stefan Rousseau/Pool Photo via AP

Mr Hancock said: “The vaccine rollout, we both invested in the science and bought the vaccines that were brought from international companies as a UK Government for the whole of the UK.

“We then rolled it out to all parts of the UK through the NHS.

“Other than Israel and the UAE, we have the fastest vaccine rollout in the world and that’s a sign of what the UK can do when we pull together.

“All those in Scotland who are considering this question, what I would say is we are so much stronger together. It means an awful lot to me and my English UK colleagues in the UK Government, that we are one union that can pull together when things get difficult.

Matt Hancock has claimed the vaccine rollout shows the strength of the UK when “we pull together”.
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“That is an argument I think is resoundingly powerful, that this UK vaccine developed by Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish colleagues in the NHS as well as across all the way over England, that is a real example of this country firing on all cylinders.

“I know colleagues in the Scottish Government are working incredibly hard to roll this out across the whole of Scotland, and I think the NHS is doing an absolutely fantastic job.

“It is all about how we work together. If this pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we are better when we work together as one United Kingdom.”

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It is claimed Mr Johnson will use the trip to stress the benefits of the UK, and comes after Nicola Sturgeon threatened to hold a wildcat independence referendum.

Earlier on Monday, the Prime Minister claimed the strengths of the Union “speak for themselves”.

Mr Johnson said: "The whole UK is going through a pandemic. I think what the people of the UK want to see is everybody focusing on beating that pandemic, which we are, rolling out the vaccine, and getting ready to bounce back from that pandemic and have the strongest possible economic recovery.

"I think people also can see everywhere in the UK the visible benefits of our wonderful union.

"A vaccine programme that is being rolled out by a National Health Service, a vaccine that was developed in labs in Oxford and is being administered by the British Army, so I think the strengths and advantages of the Union speak for themselves."

Polling published over the weekend revealed voters across the UK believe Scotland is likely to become independent within the next decade – while more than half of those in Northern Ireland want a referendum on a united Ireland in the next five years.

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