UK News PM visits Scotland to promote the union but Scots increasingly eye independence

02:26  23 july  2020
02:26  23 july  2020 Source:   news.sky.com

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Scottish independence ( Scots : Scots unthirldom; Scottish Gaelic: Neo-eisimeileachd na h-Alba) is the political movement for Scotland to become a sovereign state

Scots march at an independence rally in Glasgow in May. On Monday a poll by Lord Ashcroft showed that a majority of Scots would now support independence . Boris Johnson booed as he visits Scotland – video.

Boris Johnson is visiting Scotland claiming the "sheer might of our union" has strengthened the fight against coronavirus north of the border.

a close up of a flag: Boris Johnson's trip to Scotland is unlikely to be popular with many locals © Getty Boris Johnson's trip to Scotland is unlikely to be popular with many locals

In a trip billed as kick-starting a campaign to save the union, he will tell Scots that if they stick with Britain they will continue to benefit from huge economic support.

But the prime minister's first visit to Scotland since last December's election comes as opinion polls suggest a surge in support for independence, with backing for separation now at 54%.

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He is pledging £50m to Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles, to help develop the islands' economic potential, with handouts for space technology and renewable energy.

And during his visit, the PM is also meeting members of the military based in Scotland - and their families - to thank them for their ongoing work in the coronavirus response.

At this week's cabinet meeting, Mr Johnson ordered his ministers to make more visits to Scotland and boost their low public profiles there in the fight against independence.

Nicola Sturgeon in a blue shirt: Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has been calling for a second independence referendum © Getty Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has been calling for a second independence referendum

But the PM's own visit has been derided by senior Scottish National Party figures, with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who turned 50 on Sunday, joking after the latest poll: "Nice of Boris to send me a birthday pressie."

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Speaking ahead of his visit, Mr Johnson said: "When I stood on the steps of Downing Street one year ago, I pledged to be a prime minister for every corner of the United Kingdom.

"Whether you are from East Kilbride or Dumfries, Motherwell or Paisley, I promised to level up across Britain and close the opportunity gap.

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"The last six months have shown exactly why the historic and heartfelt bond that ties the four nations of our country together is so important and the sheer might of our union has been proven once again.

"In Scotland, the UK's magnificent armed forces have been on the ground doing vital work to support the NHS, from setting up and running mobile testing sites to airlifting critically ill patients to hospitals from some of Scotland's most remote communities.

PM’s visit to Scotland highlights ‘key argument’ for independence, Sturgeon says

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Scotland and England are two nations divided by their experience of history. That divide was never wider than during the Wars of Independence in the Bruce was now King of Scotland in most Scots ' eyes , but still lacked English and papal recognition of Scotland 's independence and his own kingship.

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"And the UK Treasury stepped in to save the jobs of a third of Scotland's entire workforce and kept the wolves at bay for tens of thousands of Scottish businesses.

"More than ever, this shows what we can achieve when we stand together, as one United Kingdom."

Supporting the prime minister's claim that the union has been good for Scots, the government said the Treasury has protected more than 900,000 jobs in Scotland and granted thousands of loans to businesses.

In addition, the UK's armed forces have airlifted critically ill patients from some of the most remote communities, helped convert temporary hospitals and run mobile testing sites.

The government also claimed the Department of Health and Social Care had procured millions of pieces of PPE to keep Scottish frontline workers safe, on top of £4.6bn given to the Scottish administration to help tackle coronavirus.

But on the eve of the PM's visit, Ms Sturgeon said: "I have no plans to meet the prime minister tomorrow. I am always happy to meet the prime minister if he wants to do so.

"We are all very focused on the immediate priority of continuing to suppress COVID and I look forward to working with the UK government on that basis.

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Other - United Kingdom · 8 years ago. Britain!, Scots : Scotland , Union or Independence ? 8 years ago. Independence , it's the only way that Scotland will ever progress. The people who haven't got the guts to break free are doing their country a dis-service, people like that are quite content to sit back

Yes Scotland is the official campaign for independence , while Better Together is the group arguing to keep the Union . At the time, the view was that Scotland was desperate for cash, but opponents of the move were outraged by claims that the Scots who put their names to the Act of Union were bribed.

"We've got political disagreements, we've got disagreements over aspects of Scotland and the UK's future and I am sure we will continue to discuss those constructively as well."

At Westminster, the all-party Scottish Affairs Committee of MPs published an interim report on intergovernmental working during the coronavirus pandemic, claiming it is having a "profound impact on devolution".

The committee's chairman, SNP MP Pete Wishart said: "The coronavirus pandemic has had a devastating impact on both Scotland's health and economy. It is also profoundly affecting devolution as the response to the crisis reveals the pre-existing creaking mechanisms.

"The overlapping responsibilities of policy areas operated by Westminster and Holyrood in the pandemic response make intergovernmental communication absolutely critical in effectively controlling the spread of the virus.

"This was the cornerstone of the 'four-nation' approach that served so effectively at the start of the crisis.

"But as the focus has shifted from containment to opening-up the economy we are concerned that the structures that made this possible have stopped.

"We heard that there is a 'void' in ministerial-level communication and which appears to have occurred around the time that some divergence and confusion in messaging began to emerge.

Coronavirus pandemic has 'strengthened case for the union' - PM

  Coronavirus pandemic has 'strengthened case for the union' - PM The coronavirus pandemic has shown the "merits" of the union between England and Scotland are "very strong", the prime minister has said. © PA As part of his trip, the PM is pledging £50m to Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles Speaking during his first visit to Scotland since his December general election victory, Boris Johnson reiterated his opposition to a second independence referendum.The PM said the strength of the UK has been crucial in the fight against COVID-19 and expressed his desire to "build back better" post-pandemic.

"Simple mistakes of not making clear which nations in which new policies apply must not be made again."

Video: PM (Birmingham Mail)

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