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Highland MP warns of 'bleak Boris Johnson Brexit Britain'


By Scott Maclennan

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Boris Johnson.
Boris Johnson.

Highland politicians have been reacting to news that having been elected Conservative party leader, Boris Johnson will become the UK’s next Prime Minister.

He thrashed Jeremy Hunt, gaining almost twice the number of votes as his opponent with 92,153 compared to his rival's 46,656.

Mr Johnson will officially take over from outgoing leader Theresa May tomorrow.

In his victory speech, he vowed to "deliver Brexit, unite the country and defeat Jeremy Corbyn".

The SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford MP, almost certainly to be one of his main sparring partners in the Commons, said Scotland would need to become independent to protect itself from the “economic and social Brexit self-harm”.

He said: “I would like to congratulate Boris Johnson on succeeding Theresa May as Prime Minister today. However, it’s clearer than ever before that Scotland faces the very real threat of being dragged down the road to economic and social Brexit self-harm.

“Rather than fanatically fanning the flames of a devastating no-deal Brexit, Boris Johnson must take a step back from the brink and, for once in his career, act in the national interest.

“If the Tory leadership contest is a sign of things to come then I warn Boris Johnson against building a bunker-mentality government that would shut off any attempts at seeking a meaningful route out of the Brexit crisis.

“Time and time again economic analysis has found that a no-deal exit from the EU would be catastrophic for jobs, people’s livelihoods and could plunge the country into recession.

“It’s no wonder then that support for independence is rising, and a majority now support a fresh referendum on Scotland’s future.

“With the October Brexit deadline fast approaching, Scotland is looking on in horror at the bleak Boris Johnson Brexit Britain on offer. Scotland must have a choice over a better future.

“It is clearer than ever that the only way to properly protect Scotland’s interests is by becoming an equal and independent European country.”

Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey MP Drew Hendry was no more hopeful than his parliamentary colleague.

He said: “That Boris Johnson used his acceptance speech to reinforce his irresponsible threat to drag us all out of the EU with no deal – come what may – gives us an early indication to expect more of the same reckless behaviour we have long become accustomed to from Mr Johnson.

“The UK government’s own figures show all versions of Brexit will be deeply damaging to Scotland and the rest of the UK, with a no deal exit having catastrophic impacts on living standards and our business community. His actions as Prime Minister will have very serious consequences for us all.

“Here in Scotland we have the opportunity to choose a different future than that on offer from Mr Johnston and this failing Tory government and that is one as an independent, outward-looking European nation.”

However, Highlands and Islands Conservative MSP Donald Cameron said the real threats lay with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Jeremy Corbyn: “I congratulate Boris Johnson on his victory.

“Given the challenges we currently face in Scotland and the wider UK, I hope he can now unite the country and deliver Brexit, as well as see off the threats posed by Nicola Sturgeon and Jeremy Corbyn.”

His regional colleague MSP Jamie Halcro Johnston called for unity and said it meant coastal communities would be revived by Brexit.

“The campaign is now over and the real work begins. It is incredibly important now that we unite behind the new Prime Minister Boris Johnson and deliver on the challenges that lie ahead of us.

“Here, that means a Brexit that delivers for the people of the Highlands and Islands and which, for instance, allows us to regain control of our fishing grounds, revives our coastal communities and which supports and provides increased opportunities for our farming communities.

“And, when Brexit is done, we can look forward to an inclusive government which, as Boris Johnson made clear in his acceptance speech, will govern in the best Tory tradition of uniting our country and reconciling the best instincts of all our people.”


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