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PM remains a claw unto himself as he rejects calls for a second vote on Scottish independence

BORIS JOHNSON carefully introduced two new members of his crab-inet yesterday as Scottish fishermen told him they are feeling the pinch.

The PM, visiting the Northern Isles, also rejected calls for a second vote on Scottish independence, despite support reaching a record high of 54 per cent in an opinion poll earlier this month. His first stop was at Stromness, where Orkney fishermen asked him to reopen access to the lucrative Chinese market, which Mr Johnson said he would take up on his return to Westminster.

He said the UK’s strength has been critical in the response to Covid-19, adding: ‘The union is a fantastically strong institution, it’s helped our country through thick and thin. It’s very, very valuable in terms of the support we’ve been able to give throughout all corners of the UK.’

Today, on the anniversary of his first year in office, Mr Johnson will pledge that he will not let the coronavirus crisis ‘hold this country back’. He will say the nation must show the same ‘unity of purpose’ displayed in fighting the virus to help recover from it. ‘It is one year since I stood on the steps of Downing Street and made a promise to the British people,’ he will say. ‘We got Brexit done and made great progress on delivering on those priorities. Then our country was hit by a devastating blow in the form of coronavirus.

‘Today, I make this pledge: I will not let the virus hold this country back. We must harness the unity of purpose and resolve we have shown in fighting coronavirus — and use it to build back better.’