British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has inflamed Scottish discontent with his Conservative government by reportedly saying that giving governing powers to Scotland had been a “disaster.”
Mr. Johnson made the remarks during a video meeting with Conservative Party lawmakers on Monday evening, in which he also said Scottish devolution had been former Prime Minister Tony Blair’s “biggest mistake.”
Scotland has an Edinburgh-based government and Parliament, set up in 1999, with broad powers in areas including health and education. Wales and Northern Ireland also have their own legislatures and regional administrations.
Mr. Johnson’s office did not deny he made the comments. But it said he was not criticising devolution, only its use “by separatists and nationalists to break up the U.K”. “The PM has always supported devolution,” Downing St. said in a statement.
The Scottish National Party, which wants Scotland to become an independent country, leads the government in Edinburgh. It is strongly critical of the decision to leave the European Union.
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted that Mr. Johnson’s remarks showed his government was “a threat to the powers of the Scottish Parliament.” “The only way to protect & strengthen ScotParl is with independence,” she said.
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