Devolution POLL: Do you agree with Boris Johnson – Blair’s devolution was a mistake? VOTE

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Mr Johnson has ignited a huge row after he condemned the role of the devolved administration in Scotland during a video call with Tory MPs in northern constituencies. At the meeting on Monday, the Prime Minister is understood to have told MPs “devolution has been a disaster north of the border” and said it was “Tony Blair’s biggest mistake”.

He also admitted during his time as Mayor of London he thought it was a good idea, but told MPs he did not “see a case” for handing down more powers from Westminster.

The Scottish Parliament was created by the former Labour Prime Minister in 1999.

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon insisted the remarks have strengthened the argument for Scotland to break away from the UK.

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford added Mr Johnson had been “caught red-handed” and insisted the “only way” to stand up for Scotland is through independence.

In a post on Twitter, Ms Sturgeon said: “Worth bookmarking these PM comments for the next time Tories say they’re not a threat to the powers of the Scottish Parliament – or, even more incredibly, that they support devolving more powers.

“The only way to protect and strengthen the Scottish Parliament is with independence.”

Mr Blackford added: “The Tory mask has slipped as Boris Johnson is caught red-handed claiming Scottish devolution is a mistake.

“As we face an extreme Brexit and Tory power grab, it’s clearer than ever that the only way to protect Scotland’s interests is to become an independent country. #IndyRef2.”

Meanwhile, Tory backbench MP John Redwood defended the Prime Minister and insisted the SNP only wants to use the devolved administration to “destroy the union” and claimed the Scottish nationalists see Holyrood as a “battering ram against the UK”.

The people of Scotland rejected independence by 55 to 45 percent during the 2014 referendum, but support has steadily increased ever since the UK voted to leave the European Union in 2016.

The past 14 opinion polls conducted over recent months has those in favour of leaving the UK ahead.

The litmus test for independence will be during the Holyrood elections in May – where the SNP is hoping another victory will give the party a mandate for a second vote.

The remarks by Mr Johnson also threatened to trigger a civil war within the Tory ranks after Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross rejected his comments.

The Moray MP said: “Devolution has not been a disaster.

“The SNP’s non-stop obsession with another referendum – above jobs, schools and everything else – has been a disaster.”

In Wales, First Minister Mark Drakeford said devolution had enabled the country to “thrive” and claimed the Prime Minister was trying to “show off in front of a few Conservative MPs”.

The pro-independence group in Wales YesCymru added: “UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson today told Tory MPs devolution was a ‘disaster’ and a ‘mistake’.

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“Wales’ future must be in Wales’ hands, not Westminster’s.”

Downing Street has since thrown its support behind devolution and hit out at the SNP over attempts to break up the Union.

A spokesman for Mr Johnson said: “The Prime Minister has always fully supported devolution. This Government continues to put the Union at the heart of everything that we do.

“The Prime Minister has been clear that he thinks the four corners of the UK stronger together and he will be the voice of the majority of Scottish people who voted decisively to keep the UK together.

“He will always stand against those trying to separate the United Kingdom.

“The PM believes that we had what was a once-in-a-generation referendum and that the result of it should be respected. He firmly rejects the SNP’s call to break up the United Kingdom.”

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