Boris Johnson pledges to keep 'cross of St Andrew in Union Flag' ahead of Scotland visit

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has launched an emotive defence of the Union as he attacked independence campaigners ahead of a visit to Scotland amid a growing political crisis over Brexit.

By Ross McCafferty
Friday, 6th September 2019, 10:50 am
Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson

Mr Johnson echoed the statements he made in the Conservative leadership campaign this summer, claiming he will 'strain every nerve to keep the UK together' as First Minister Nicola Sturgeon continues to push for a second referendum on independence.

The SNP leader would be 'tearing the cross of St Andrew out of the Union Flag,' according to Mr Johnson, who was writing in the Daily Telegraph, his former employer.

He wrote: "The red, white and blue of our Union Flag symbolises everything we have achieved together as the most successful political and economic union in modern history.

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"People across the world see a country that stands for freedom, democracy and the rule of law. They admire the institutions we have created and nurtured."

Mr Johnson also drew attention to the fact that he had changed the traditional job title of Prime Minister, adding 'Minister for the Union' to his list of responsibilities.

He added: "As Minister for the Union, I will strain every nerve and sinew to strengthen and preserve all that we prize and cherish - and doggedly resist those who would seek to wrest us apart."

The former London Mayor used similarly strong language in defence of the union during a heated Prime Minister's Questions session on Wednesday, when he dismissed the questions of the SNP' Westminster leader Ian Blackford with an attack on the 'separatists' of the party.

Nicola Sturgeon has said that the SNP will put independence and opposing Brexit 'at the heart' of a general election campaign, as Boris Johnson seeks a snap poll to break the parliamentary impasse over Brexit.

However, his aggressive style and insistence on loyalty has already sparked a backlash, with former Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson joining a chorus of criticism against the expulsion of 21 MPs who rebelled against the Government on Tuesday.

Former Prime Minister John Major warned at an event in Glasgow that Mr Johnson 'risks tearing the union apart'.

Mr Johnson will visit Aberdeenshire to detail a major boost in funding to assist Scottish farmers.