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Wed, 30 September 2020

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Boris Johnson to put Union flag on UK-funded Scottish projects as SNP accuses him of ‘posturing’

Boris Johnson to put Union flag on UK-funded Scottish projects as SNP accuses him of ‘posturing’

New Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross said Britain should be ‘unashamed of our direct investment in communities across Scotland’.

2 min read

Boris Johnson is to stamp the Union flag on major schemes in Scotland from next year — in a move dismissed as “posturing” by the SNP.

The Telegraph reports that the national symbol will sit alongside the Saltire on projects funded by the UK government, and will replace the European Union symbol that currently adorns Brussels-backed infrastructure schemes.

New Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross said the move — which comes ahead of Holyrood elections in 2021 — would show Britain was "unashamed of our investment in Scotland".

Mr Ross told The Telegraph’s Chopper’s Podcast that he wanted to show the "visual connection" between UK Government money and schemes in Scotland.

"We should be unashamed of our direct investment in communities across Scotland.

"We will see that, through the shared prosperity fund, that is the money that the EU used to earmark for projects in Scotland and other parts of the UK.

"If they could have an EU flag on it, why not have the United Kingdom flag on it to show that here is an example of our two governments in Scotland, working together, and the UK Government delivering for individual communities and projects the length and breadth of the country?"

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack confirmed the plan had been signed off by Number 10 and the Cabinet Office, and would kick in once Britain leaves the transition period with the European Union next year.

"Where there is direct investment or joint investment between the two governments, you would expect to see the Union Jack sitting alongside the Saltire,” he said.

But the SNP’s Tommy Sheppard branded the plan "political tokenism and posturing of the worst order".

He added: "It would probably be counterproductive because there is no point trying to force the union flag down people's throats in the hope that they would like it. 

“If the Union is so great, they should not need constantly to use the flag to promote it."

The move is the latest push by the British government to emphasise the benefits of Scotland remaining in the United Kingdom amid polls showing rising support for Scottish independence.

Last week Chancellor Rishi Sunak paid his first visit to Scotland in the job, where he talked up the impact of the Treasury’s coronavirus support schemes in "every corner of the UK".

The SNP said the trip showed ministers were in "full panic mode" ahead of next year’s Holyrood vote.

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