Next PM must 'accelerate' UK Government's work in Scotland, says Alister Jack

The next prime minister must “accelerate” the UK Government's work in Scotland, the Scottish Secretary has said.

Alister Jack said Boris Johnson had "an impressive record of delivering for Scotland" and his successor must build on this.

He said support for independence had “stagnated” under Mr Johnson’s leadership.

It comes after Nicola Sturgeon launched the second in a series of papers setting out the updated case for independence.

Boris Johnson and Scottish Secretary Alister Jack. Picture: Leon Neal/Getty Images


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At a press conference in Bute House, her official residence in Edinburgh, the First Minister said she would be open to compromising on her plans for a second referendum if the next prime minister comes to the negotiating table.

However, she stressed she would not allow "Scottish democracy to be the prisoner of a UK prime minister".

Five contenders are battling it out to become the next Conservative Party leader and prime minister, with former chancellor Rishi Sunak, trade minister Penny Mordaunt and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss all seen as favourites for the top job.

Writing in today’s Scotland on Sunday, Mr Jack referenced projects on which the UK and Scottish governments have worked together, such as freeports and growth deals.


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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon speaks at a press conference at Bute House in Edinburgh to launch a second independence paper.

He said: "In public, it may suit the SNP’s separatist agenda to stoke up the divisive rhetoric.

"But behind the scenes the UK and Scottish governments are working constructively."

He added: "Despite the SNP’s attempts to cast Boris as a Conservative bogeyman, it is interesting that support for independence has stagnated while he’s been in Number 10.


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"Perhaps that’s because we have been quietly making the case for the Union every day through the UK Government’s determination to help Scotland flourish."

Mr Jack said he will not publicly back any of the leadership candidates and intends to keep his vote private.

But he added: "I will, however, have detailed discussions with all them about their approach to Scotland, and how we continue to strengthen the Union.

"My message to them is simple: The UK Government’s work in Scotland must be nurtured and accelerated.


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"We must keep creating opportunities for all, regardless of background.

"We must continue identifying opportunities to regenerate communities and to grow the economy.

"Nicola Sturgeon may want to spend the summer wrapped in grievance and talking to her own supporters about independence.

"We will keep working for the people of Scotland."


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Kirsten Oswald, the SNP’s deputy Westminster leader, said: “Boris Johnson’s corrupt government has been a disaster for Scotland – imposing an extreme Brexit which has cost the economy billions, Tory austerity, and sidelining the devolved governments at every opportunity.

“It’s clear that rather than standing up for Scotland’s interests and holding serial lawbreaker Johnson to account, yes man Alister Jack desperately clung on to his ministerial perks.

“Scotland wants a different future to the one being imposed under broken Westminster control.

"The only way to keep Scotland safe and deliver meaningful change is to become an independent country.


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“The Scottish Government has been given a cast-iron democratic mandate by the people to hold an independence referendum – and that is what we intend to do on 19th October 2023."


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