British PM seeks to mend ties with Scotland

British PM Boris Johnson will seek to play down tensions with Scotland during a visit on Thursday, news wires reported. The ties that bind the kingdom’s constituent parts - England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland - have been badly strained by Brexit and the coronavirus outbreak.

Johnson will travel to Scotland to meet with businesses and military, marking a year since he took office by reaffirming a commitment to increase opportunity and prosperity for all parts of Britain. “The last six months have shown exactly why the historic and heartfelt bond that ties the four nations of our country together is so important and the sheer might of our union has been proven once again,” he said in a statement ahead of the visit.

In 2014 Scotland voted to remain part of the UK, but polling shows it remains deeply split over the issue and support for independence has narrowly overtaken support for the union. Scotland’s pro-independence government opposes leaving the EU and supports new independence referendum due to Brexit.

The Scottish National Party, which runs the semi-autonomous government in Scotland, has accused Johnson of muddled messaging on coronavirus, and decided to implement its own lockdown strategy independently of London. “The only reason Boris Johnson is coming here today is because he is in full-blown panic mode amid rising support for independence,” deputy leader Keith Brown said.

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