Boris mocks ‘convert’ Blackford as SNP MP explodes at England’s ‘power-grab’ in Scotland

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Boris Johnson’s joke was the result of SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford suggesting the Prime Minister’s legacy will be the break-up of the “failing” United Kingdom.suggested the Prime Minister was threatening the union. Mr Johnson insisted his Government is committed to the sanctity of the UK as he rejected claims that his proposed Internal Market Bill constitutes a “power-grab” on Scotland. Mr Johnson said: “I’m not quite clear from that question whether he’s in favour of the union or not.  

“I take it from his hostility to me that he wants to support the union, so do I.

“And the best thing he can do is to support the UK Internal Market Bill which buttresses a surge of powers transferred to the devolved administrations in more than 70 areas.

“I should just remind him that in the recent coronavirus crisis, £4.5 billion have been transferred in Scotland to spend.

“And I’m proud to say that 70n percent that testing that has taken place in Scotland has been supported by the UK Government.”

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Mr Johnson added: “I hope for that reason, if he is a convert to the union – which I take from his question – then that’s just one of the reasons why he should back it.”

The SNP MP said: “As usual, the Prime Minister is all over the place.

“He doesn’t remember what he’s written, he doesn’t understand his own Brexit deal and he doesn’t even know what’s in the Internal Market Bill.

“Clause 46 of this bill allows this Tory Government to bypass Scotland’s Parliament and take decisions on the NHS, on education, on infrastructure, on economic development, culture and sport.

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“A blatant power grab.”

Mr Blackford continued: “We all know what the Tory backbenchers are saying behind closed doors. The Prime Minister is incompetent, he can’t govern and they want him away before the next election.

“Scotland’s legacy will be in being a fair, decent, law-abiding independent nation state. The Prime Minister’s legacy will be leading the UK to break international law and break this failing union.”

Under the Internal Market Bill, devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland would have to accept new standards on food, animal welfare and the environment negotiate by the Westminster Government.

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But former Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay warned the SNP-led Scottish Government could pass new laws before the bill completely clears Parliament to avoid any impact on devolved powers.

A spokesman for the Scottish Government said parliamentarians are now considering “every option” to halt “a law that presents a clear and present danger to the devolution settlement.”

Mr Barclay said: “We’re still in the transition period and so any legislation rushed through would need to comply with EU legislation, so the devil would be in the detail.

“It’s important that across the UK we maintain high food standards and address the scare stories put out to worry the public.”

But he noted: “That is what this legislation delivers, we will maintain high standards across the UK and enable Scottish businesses, which do three times more trade with the rest of the UK than they do with the EU, to maintain that business, which is key to protecting jobs in Scotland.”

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