As MPs and MSPs return...

Sturgeon plugs ‘tale of two governments’ amid Boris backlash

Protestors converged on Downing Street

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will this week attempt to show that it is “business as usual” at Holyrood as Prime Minister Boris Johnson brings the shutters down on the Commons.

Her message of “a tale of two governments” will underpin her Programme for Government on Tuesday and follows a series of demonstrations across the UK against Mr Johnson’s decision to suspend the UK Parliament for 23 working days in the run-up to Brexit.

Protesters took to the streets in cities including Edinburgh, Glasgow, Belfast, Leeds and Manchester. In Oxford, crowds holding banners gathered outside Balliol College, where Mr Johnson studied at university.

The Prime Minister stoked the political fires further by warning Tory MPs not to rebel against the government over Brexit, as opposition MPs plan legislation to stop no deal. Any Tory MP who fails to vote with the government will lose the party whip meaning they will effectively be expelled from the party and would not be able to stand as a Conservative candidate in an election.

Chancellor Sajid Javid defended the Prime Minister’s decision to suspend Parliament. In a radio interview he said: “It’s quite usual this time of year for Parliament to go in to a recess. It’s perfectly correct and appropriate to prorogue Parliament.

“I think it’s absolutely right that this prime minister and his government get the chance to set up their agenda.”

Mr Javid is preparing to use his first major set-piece as Chancellor on Wednesday to confirm large increases in public spending which will mean budget rises for the NHS, schools and the police in England. Mr Javid is likely to use the spending round to declare that a decade of austerity is coming to an end. His statement will be scrutinised for “consequentials” that will imply more spending opportunities for Scotland.

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