Nicola Sturgeon's independence dream dealt major blow as Boris Johnson announces tour

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Nicola Sturgeon's independence dream dealt major blow as Boris Johnson announces tour

The Prime Minister has announced a series of visits north of the border later this week in a bid to persuade Scots to back the Union. It will come

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The Prime Minister has announced a series of visits north of the border later this week in a bid to persuade Scots to back the Union. It will come as a blow to Nicola Sturgeon who has enjoyed a plethora of soaring approval ratings and polls, which suggest more than half of Scots would now back independence.

A recent Panelbase poll showed that 54 percent of Scots backed independence, one of the highest rates since the 2019 general election. 

But Mark McInnes, director of the Scottish Tories will meet with senior ministers on Tuesday and present data gathered by James Kanagasooriamm, a Downing Street polling expert. 

Ministers are also expected to discuss how to restrict the success of the SNP in next year’s Holyrood election which has been seen by Indy supporters as critical for another independence vote.

In a press conference to journalists this afternoon, Downing Street vigorously defended the strength of the Union.

The Prime Minister’s spokesman told Express.co.uk: “The UK-wide response to the coronavirus pandemic demonstrates, more than ever, the importance of the Union.

“Through UK Government support, over 900,000 Scottish jobs have been protected and thousands of Scottish businesses have been granted loans.

“The United Kingdom’s Armed Forces have also provided vital support for NHS Scotland airlifting critically ill patients from some of the most remote communities, helping convert temporary hospitals, and running mobile testing sites. 

“And that’s on top of the £4.6 billion we have given to the Scottish administration so they can fund the NHS and other public services in Scotland.”

READ MORE: Sturgeon panic: New ‘Alliance for Independence’ party could split vote

 

During a Downing Street media briefing on Friday, he was asked about support for Scottish independence and whether he is “the biggest threat to the Union”.

Mr Johnson responded: “When you look at what’s happened during this crisis, there has been very good and very close collaboration – despite the surface differences and the polemics that you refer to – there have been very good discussions across the UK between public health authorities, between the scientific and medical officers.

“Actually, the agenda that is being pursued by all parts of the UK beneath the surface has been very, very similar.”

Nicola Sturgeon responded to the news, saying: “Nice of Boris to send me a birthday pressie” and added a party popper emoji and a laughing face.

But clarifying that she wasn’t being serious, she stressed: “For those who take Twitter a tad too seriously – this is a joke!”

In response to Boris Johnson’s tour announcement, SNP Deputy Leader Keith Brown MSP told Express.co.uk: “Johnson will have seen the polls then?

“With a majority of Scots consistently in favour of independence, there is one word to describe his increasingly desperate efforts to shore up his failing efforts to promote the Union: Rattled.”



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