‘Amateur!’ SNP chief blasts Boris Johnson and rages at PM for sidelining Nicola Sturgeon

Angus Robertson labels state of the union 'unfit for purpose'

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Angus Robertson, the Scottish Government’s Cabinet Secretary for the Constitution and SNP’s former leader in Westminster, attacked Mr Johnson for undermining devolution. Appearing in front of a House of Lords committee, the Scottish politician claimed the Prime Minister was negligent on the UK.

Giving evidence on the future of the United Kingdom, he said there was a lack of engagement between Downing Street and the other nations.

Referring to meetings with leaders of the devolved nations, he said: “Up until now the Prime Minister doesn’t seem to think he as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom should largely take part in these things.

“He prefers somebody else to do that.”

He went on to claim the meetings that have taken place between the four nations’ leaders have been chaotic.

Mr Robertson said: “The experience on how this works sometimes is literally so amateur you can hardly believe it.

“Being bounced into meetings which there’s not been any consultation about dates, described as ‘summits’, documentation for key top level meetings only being shared the evening before they take place, being invited to attend meetings but then being told you’re not able to speak. I could go on.”

His comments come after Mr Johnson wrote to Nicola Sturgeon, Mark Drakeford and the leaders of Northern Ireland to call them for a joint summit in May.

Following the Holyrood and Welsh Parliament elections, the Prime Minister called for a meeting “to discuss our shared challenges and how we can work together in the coming months and years to overcome them”.

The meeting was postponed from its original date as Ms Sturgeon and Mr Drakeford accused No10 of failing to set out clear objectives from the meeting.

In a letter the paid criticised the Westminster Government for sending “a very rough proposed agenda” with no agreement on ket issues to be discussed.

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Ms Sturgeon and Mr Drakeford wrote: “We are both deeply committed to taking part in such a summit and to working appropriately together on Covid Recovery – but, as we are sure you do, we want the meeting to be a meaningful discussion with substantive outcomes, and not just a PR exercise.

“Our view is that this will be best achieved if further detailed preparation is done in advance.”

They said it was essential the summit was not just a “box-ticking exercise”.

The SNP was later critical when another meeting between Michael Gove and the devolved leaders was held during one of Scotland’s Euro 2020 football fixtures.

A Holyrood source said at the time: “Gove seems utterly clueless. He either doesn’t know about the Scotland game, or doesn’t care.

“Nicola will be on the call whenever it takes place.

“But the fact the Tories have been trying to arrange a so-called four nations call to clash with one of Scotland’s biggest sporting events in decades is ironic. It shows Scotland isn’t even on their radar.”

A UK Government spokesperson has rejected claims Mr Johnonson is uninterested in the Union.

They said: “The Prime Minister has always fully supported devolution.

“As Minister for the Union he consistently makes the case for a strong United Kingdom and sets out that we are at our best when we work together towards a common goal, as shown during the pandemic.”

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