Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar has described Boris Johnson the “biggest threat” to the union, as party leaders continue to clash over the possibility of another referendum on Scottish independence.
The prime minister is particularly unpopular in Scotland, polling suggests, with one recent Savanta ComRes survey putting his net favourability rating at – 21 per cent.
Mr Sarwar suggested it was not in Scottish Conservative interests for him to head north of the border in the final two weeks of the Holyrood election campaign.
“I can understand why Boris Johnson doesn’t want to visit – Boris Johnson is a disaster,” said the Scottish Labour chief.
He added: “Boris Johnson is the biggest threat to the United Kingdom. Boris Johnson has delivered us Brexit and things are so bad that even Ruth Davidson has walked away.”
Pushed on whether Sir Keir Starmer would return to Scotland before the 6 May election, Mr Sarwar said the party leader was “an asset”, adding: “We’ll see – my intention is that I believe he is going to come back up.”
SNP leader Nicola and Scottish Tory chief Douglas Ross very briefly joined forces during a heated online debate on Tuesday night – accusing Mr Sarwar of “sitting on the fence”.
Ms Sturgeon and Mr Ross initially clashed over Scotland’s Covid vaccine programme during the debate organised by the National Union of Students (NUS), with the first minister making an impassioned defence of her government’s rollout.
Suggesting they had both lost their cool, Mr Sarwar said, sarcastically: “What a great example to children and the young people across the country – fantastic.”
Ms Sturgeon fired back: “This sitting on the fence, it might be good for a while. But sooner or later you have to decide which side you are on.”
Mr Sarwar then asked: “Was that targeted at me, sorry?” Mr Ross interjected: “She was speaking about sitting on the fence, it was definitely targeted at you Anas.”
Mr Sarwar responded: “I just like to not forget about the half of the country that doesn’t agree with me on the constitution … we are in a pandemic after all.”
It comes ahead of the Alba party’s manifesto launch on Wednesday, when Alex Salmond is expected to say a supermajority for Scottish independence is needed at Holyrood to “hold Boris Johnson’s feet to the fire”.