Brexit latest: Boris Johnson to put Union flag on UK-funded Scottish projects – row ERUPTS

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The European Union symbol has been used to indicate whether a road or bridge has been directly funded by Brussels but will be replaced with a Union flag. The new Scottish Conservative leader, Douglas Ross, has backed the idea.

He said Tories in Scotland need to be “unashamed of our investment in Scotland”.

Senior SNP politicians accused Mr Johnson’s Government of “posturing of the worst order” and is “trying to force the union flag down people’s throats”.

The Union flag is set to be used to symbolise when the UK central Government money has been spent on Scottish projects.

Although a portion of Scotland’s government money derives from an annual grant from London, the Union flag will not be used for Scottish government spending.

Mr Ross said he wanted to highlight the “visual connection” between Scottish schemes and the UK Government’s money.

He said: “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?”

Mr Ross added how UK support “has seen us through the COVID pandemic by supporting local economies the VAT reduction to five per cent is as welcome to tourism and hospitality companies in Shetland as in south Cornwall.”

The Scottish Secretary, Alister Jack, said the idea had been signed by both Mr Johnson and Michael Gove.

He said the plan would start next year after the end of the Brexit transition period is over in December.

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

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But he revealed how SNP supporters will probably dislike the appearance of union flags on roads and bridges in Scotland.

He added: “They never got upset about seeing a European Union flag sitting alongside the Saltire – it is the only the Union Jack that upsets them.”

Senior SNP MP, Tommy Sheppard, called the plans “foolish, and 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.”

Mr Ross was appointed as the leader of the Scottish Conservatives last week without a contest.

It came after the sudden resignation of Jackson Carlaw.

Mr Ross said becoming leader was the “honour and privilege of a lifetime”.

He said: “Now our focus must turn to earning the trust of people looking for a positive and credible alternative for Scotland, and who want a fresh start for our country. I hope you’ll join us.”

Mr Ross was one of the few Scottish Conservative MPs to hold his seat after the general election last December.

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