Political Insider – Friday 2 August 2019

Political Insider – Friday 2 August 2019

Political Insider – Friday 2 August 2019

Week two of the Johnson era and the Prime Minister has declared it is “up to the EU, this is their call” if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. Mr Johnson said: “We’re not aiming for a no-deal Brexit, we don’t think that’s where we’ll end up.”

This comes as the UK Government has just announced an extra £2.1bn of funding to prepare for a no-deal Brexit, with plans including more border force officers and upgrades to transport infrastructure at ports.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon claimed that Boris Johnson has set the UK on an “almost inevitable path to a no-deal Brexit”. Ms Sturgeon’s comment came after distinctly cool talks with the new PM at her official Bute House residence in Edinburgh. She said it was clear to her that the UK government was on a “dangerous” path to a “catastrophic” exit from the EU.

Elsewhere, Boris Johnson should stop “ignoring” Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson or risk putting an end to the “delicate” union of the United Kingdom, William Hague, the former UK Conservative leaderand Foreign Secretary has warned. Lord Hague urged the Prime Minister to give Ms Davidson “a strong place in his counsels and confidence”, despite splits between the pair over a no-deal Brexit and the Cabinet sacking of ally David Mundell as Scottish Secretary.

Boris Johnson’s cabinet reshuffle saw around 75% of Theresa May’s ministers sacked or moved. A definitive listing of ‘new’ Ministers can be found here (note the Scotland Office has an extra/third Minister):https://www.gov.uk/government/ministers

The former Scottish Conservative leader Annabel, now Baroness, Goldie has been appointed as Minister of State at the Ministry of Defence, moving across from the Whips Office. She joins another former MSP, Ben Wallace, a former soldier who was promoted into the Cabinet as Defence Secretary.  

A second junior Minister (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State and also a Scottish Whip) has been appointed to the Scotland Office, supporting new Scottish Secretary Alister Jack.  He is Colin Clark MP for Gordon and a former businessman before gaining his Gordon seat from a certain Alex Salmond in June 2017.

In other news, the UK government should use Brexit as an opportunity to “rewrite” unfair agricultural funding rules, according to a key group of MPs on Westminster’s Scottish Affairs Committee. They said leaving the EU presented a chance to address failings in the current formula. A report said the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) had led to Scottish farms and crofts receiving low funding. The UK government insisted Scotland would get a better deal after Brexit. The report urged ministers to move away from an “outdated method” of allocating money.

As mentioned last week, Iain Gray, the former Scottish Labour leader and local MSP for East Lothian had a entertaining visit to The Lighthouse in North Berwick on Wednesday ahead of its sponsorship of the Fringe by the Sea festival starting on Friday 2nd August. The Lighthouse is a client of Perceptive’s and has gone from strength to strength since opening in March 2018.

And finally… In a tersely worded press release, the SNP has called for Michael Gove to make it an early priority to take his threat to devolution off the table. Mr Gove – a Scot and the new Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster – has led calls for Westminster to wrestle control of spending in devolved areas from Holyrood – eroding the powers of the Scotland Act and breaching current Treasury rules. He has been tasked with “overseeing constitutional affairs and maintaining the integrity of the Union”. 

If you or your organisation would benefit from our political insight and specialist knowledge and contacts at all political levels, please get in touch with Julie Moulsdale on 07734932578 or julie.moulsdale@perceptivecommunicators.co.uk    

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