AN extraordinary faux pas was made by would-be prime minister Boris Johnson yesterday when he said the UK already had an England-only parliament – and it was Westminster.

He made the slip at a Tory leadership hustings in Carlisle where he was asked if there was a case for devolution in England.

“I’m not convinced there is a case for an England-only parliament,” he said. “We have an England-only parliament. It’s in Westminster. It’s been there for a long time. I’m not disposed to create another parliament.”

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Johnson also said he would use some of the £5 million Westminster spends every year on advertising to put “a Union flag” on any money spent in Scotland. He said it was “ridiculous” that the devolved government was “claiming the credit” for “what was really a scheme or investment from the UK”.

“Let’s flag it up properly,” he said. “Let’s put a Union flag on this stuff and not let it be claimed by the Scot Nats.”

He added that he would also look at creating a “unit for the Union” in

No 10 and would be announcing something today to “enhance and support the Union”.

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Asked what he would do if he became prime minister and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon wanted permission for another referendum, he said the 2014 vote had been a “once in a generation” event and he could see “no reason at all in going over that again”.

He went on to say that Sturgeon would be “bonkers” and “deranged” if an independent Scotland resulted in a hard border with England.

“I think if Nicola Sturgeon – and I want to be polite here but deranged springs to mind – were to impose a hard border on people coming from the rest of the UK to Scotland or goods and services coming from the rest of the UK to Scotland it would be absurd,” said Johnson.

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“But of course we will not be doing any such thing. We will impose no borders ourselves nor do I think for a second that anything like that will happen.

“One of the advantages of Brexit – and I don’t think people fully understand this – is that far from threatening the Union Brexit, if it is done right and sensibly, is going to cement and intensify our great Union, the awesome foursome of our country.”

Johnson said the SNP would “not have much of a song to sing” once the UK came out of the EU.

He claimed the SNP wanted to join the Euro and submit Scotland to the “entire panoply” of EU rules.

He said the “kicker” was their “brilliant” plan to “hand back control of Scotland’s fisheries to Brussels” just when the UK had “recovered control of its fisheries” and just when Scotland was on the verge of having “the power and incredible potential to develop the industry”.

He said the SNP had no chance of getting elected if they put that in their manifesto.

“Brexit done sensibly and properly holds out a fantastic prospect of unifying our country in all sorts of ways and cementing the Union,” he said.

He said that independence for Scotland had been “honestly and expertly discussed” in the run-up to the 2014 vote just as the issues had been debated before the Brexit vote and in both cases the voters had come to the “right” conclusion.

“In the case of the Scottish referendum it was made absolutely clear at that time that it was a once in a generation event and I see no reason at all in going over that again,” he said.

“Whatever you may say about referendums they do divide people one from another, they do divide families, they do divide societies and I think what people all want now is for people to come together and unite.”

Johnson went on to pay tribute to Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson for the “extraordinary” rebirth of the Conservative Party in Scotland at the last election.

“It showed to me the strength of Unionism north of the Border and that people are voting now for the sensible Unionist party which is the Conservatives,” he said.

Returning to his theme that Brexit would strengthen the Union, he added: “Being Foreign Secretary as I was, you really understand quite how valued this country is around the world and it is not valued as England, Ireland, Scotland or Wales. It is valued as the UK – our military forces, our diplomats, our reputation for science or tackling climate change – it is the UK that is loved and admired around the world and to damage that is crazy.”