Wild horses could not stop me campaigning for Holyrood, PM says

Craig Paton, PA Scotland Political Reporter
·2-min read

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said wild horses could not stop him from campaigning in May’s Holyrood elections.

With this year’s vote being touted as one of the most significant in the 21-year history of devolution, Mr Johnson has backed Scottish Tories leader Douglas Ross as he looks to deny the SNP a majority at Holyrood.

The SNP has set out its roadmap to another independence referendum, which would see a referendum date set if the UK Government deny permission, effectively daring them to launch a legal challenge.

Discussing the possibility he could play a role in the Tory campaign north of the border, the Prime Minister said: “As for campaigning, wild horses won’t keep me away.

“I’ll be campaigning across the whole of the country.”

Concerns have been raised over Mr Johnson’s popularity north of the border, with polls suggesting the rise in support for independence, which has been the favoured opinion in the last 20 polls, may have risen against a backdrop of Brexit and Covid-19, both of which have been heavily influenced by the Primer Minister.

Recent polls show the SNP with an almost insurmountable lead as the party could be on course for another majority and the Tories battling Scottish Labour for second place.

Boris Johnson and Douglas Ross drinking whisky
The Prime Minister praised Tory leader Douglas Ross (right) (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

During his visit to Scotland on Thursday, Mr Johnson said: “I think Douglas Ross is doing a terrific job and I think it’s very important to hold the Scottish National Party to account for what I believe – and this is hard for me to say because I’m the Prime Minister of the whole UK and I want the whole UK to flourish – but I see defects and I see failings, and we have to work together to improve those.”

He added: “I think Douglas is the right man to get those points over.”

When asked why Scottish voters should trust the Tories, the Prime Minister said: “I think the reasons for voting Conservative in May’s elections are very good ones.”

He went on to say the Scottish Government has “not been notably successful” in its handling of the education system or over drug deaths.