SNP call for Tories to stop ‘threatening’ Scottish devolution

SNP depute leader Keith Brown. Picture: John Devlin
SNP depute leader Keith Brown. Picture: John Devlin
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The Conservatives must take their “threats” to the Scottish Parliament off the table and defend devolution against a Boris Johnson premiership, the SNP claimed today.

Nationalists have pushed back against claims from Tory MPs that Theresa May’s successor should fund directly fund more projects in Scotland to boost support for the Union.

Holyrood ministers believe this would be contrary to the Scotland Act and the principle of devolution more generally.

But the Tories said the biggest threat to devolution was the SNP.

The row follows the first round of voting in the Conservative leadership contest which saw Boris Johnson installed as the clear favourite to replace Mrs May and take up residence in Downing Street.

The SNP said Mr Johnson had a long record of questioning the devolution settlement and threatening cuts to public spending north of the Border.

The party pointed to comments where the former foreign secretary described the Barnett formula as “reckless”, “amazing political antiquity”, “a kind of present” and complained that England was “short-changed”.

They also highlighted a time when Mr Johnson argued that a “pound spent in Croydon or Tottenham… will generate far more for the rest of the economy than a pound spent in Strathclyde.”

SNP depute leader Keith Brown said: “Not so long ago the Scottish Tories were frantically briefing that Ruth Davidson would stand in the way of Boris Johnson’s leadership ambitions.

“Not only are they content with Boris Johnson as prime minister, Ruth Davidson’s Tories are demanding he ignores two decades of devolution and bypasses our democratically elected parliament.

“That’s an extraordinary development – and puts the Tories on the wrong side of public opinion and the wrong side of history.

“The public rightly expect politicians from all parties to defend our parliament.

“The Tories must urgently take this threat to devolution off the table.”

A spokesman for the Scottish Conservatives said: “The biggest threat to devolution is the SNP, which sends back the powers it doesn’t want and botches the ones it does.”