Hundreds of protesters gathered in Glasgow as Boris Johnson visits Scotland for the first time as Prime Minister. They held black and white posters with his face crossed out and the words “no thanks” printed in opposition to his trip to the country today. Before his meeting with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, she said he was sending the country towards “disaster”. The Scottish National Party leader tweeted: “The people of Scotland did not vote for this Tory Government, they didn’t vote for this new Prime Minister, they didn’t vote for Brexit and they certainly didn’t vote for a catastrophic no-deal Brexit which Boris Johnson is now planning for.
“Boris Johnson has formed a hard-line Tory Government with one aim – to take Scotland and the UK out of the EU without a deal.
“Scotland has been ignored throughout the Brexit process and it is now time for everyone who cares about the future of Scotland to come together to chart our own course and say to the Tories – stop driving our country towards disaster.”
Mr Johnson will also meet with Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson who lashed out at the Prime Minister’s no deal Brexit plans, and is opposing such a divorce from the European Union.
Mr Johnson has continued to insist he will take Britain out of the EU on October 31 – with or without a deal, “do or die”.
He wants to scrap the Irish backstop that proved to be a major stumbling block stopping Theresa May getting her Brexit deal through Parliament.
This morning, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme the EU must change its “stubborn” position on Brexit if a no deal Brexit is to be avoided.
But even before the Prime Minister arrived in Scotland this morning, Ms Davidson threatened fresh tensions in the Conservative Party with a warning over a no deal Brexit.
She used a Mail On Sunday column to say: “I hope beyond measure that the new Prime Minister is successful in getting an agreement with the EU so that he can go back to the House of Commons and get the majority backing he needs. He has my full support in those efforts.
“Where I differ with the UK Government is on the question of a no-deal Brexit.
“When I was debating against the pro-Brexit side in 2016, I don’t remember anybody saying we should crash out of the EU with no arrangements in place to help maintain the vital trade that flows uninterrupted between Britain and the European Union.”
Ms Davidson added: ”I don’t think the UK Government should pursue a no-deal Brexit, and if it comes to it, I won’t support it.
“I wrote to tell the former Prime Minister Theresa May that last year and I confirmed my position to her successor when I spoke to him last week.
“As leader of the party in Scotland, my position exists independently of Government. I don’t have to sign a no-deal pledge to continue to serve.”
Mr Johnson will also visit HM Naval Base Clyde in Argyll and Bute to unveil a £300million warchest for communities in the devolved nations.
The funding marks an expansion of the regional Growth Deals in parts of UK countries outside of England.
This cash will go towards deals in Falkirk, the Islands and Argyll and Bute in Scotland – as well as Causeway Coast and Glens and Mid South West Northern Ireland, and Mid Wales.
Speaking to BBC Breakfast, Ms Sturgeon’s SNP colleague, Derek Mackay MSP, was sceptical of Mr Johnson’s visit, and launched a furious attack against the Prime Minister.
The Scottish Finance Secretary said: “We feel that Boris Johnson is just the bluff and bluster and his premiership will just represent that, but with substantial and significant damage to the economy of the whole of the UK and Scotland.
“But if we’re to have a serious conversation then he has to respect Scotland, how Scotland has voted, what our interests are, and respect what we’re saying and that is to avert Brexit. And particularly a no-deal Brexit.”
“That’s the primary issue before us right now and it would do Boris Johnson as Prime Minister well to listen.
Mr Mackay added: “Theresa May visited, it didn’t make much difference, she didn’t listen to the First Minister terribly much, and maybe Boris Johnson will be different but I don’t think so.
“He’s even coming up to face a fight with his own party – it tells you how split they really are.
“We have tried to compromise within the UK but even the announcements today are totally unimpressive.
“They are recycled and they’ll do nothing to shore up his position as he faces off the criticism even from the Scottish Conservatives.”