BORIS Johnson has refused to deny that he wants to snatch powers away from the Scottish Parliament.

The Tory leader was asked directly by Ian Blackford in the Commons if he thought Westminster or Holyrood should be in charge of key policy areas such as health, education and economic development.

The SNP Westminster leader also asserted that the Prime Minister’s own MPs want him out of Number 10 before the next election.

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Speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions, Blackford quoted from a 2001 Telegraph article written by Johnson. “Devolution is causing all the strains that its opponents predicted, and in allowing the Scots to make their own laws, while free-riding on English taxpayers, it is simply unjust,” he wrote.

The Prime Minister was asked if the thinks devolution is still unjust, and which government he thinks should hold the responsibility for Scotland’s NHS, education, infrastructure, economic development and culture and sport.

Johnson failed to answer the question, instead insisting the Scottish people had rejected the opportunity for Holyrood to gain more powers in the so-called “once in a generation” 2014 independence referendum.

But he claimed the Internal Market Bill offers further devolution to Scotland.

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Blackford asked the PM to retract the “nonsense” suggestion that he had dubbed the 2014 vote a once in a generation event.

He continued: “As usual, the Prime Minister is all over the place. He doesn’t remember what he’s written. He doesn’t understand his own Brexit deal and he doesn’t even know what’s in the Internal Market Bill. I’ll tell him, clause 46 of this Bill allows this Tory Government to bypass Scotland’s parliament and take decisions on the NHS, on education, on infrastructure, on economic development, culture and sport … a blatant power grab.

“We all know what the Tory backbenchers are saying behind closed doors – that the Prime Minister is incompetent, he can’t govern and they want him away before the next election.”

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The Skye and Lochaber MP added: “Scotland’s legacy will be in being a fair, decent, law-abiding independent nation state, will the Prime Minister’s legacy be leading the UK to break international law and break this failing Union?”

The Tory leader said he was unsure from that questions if Blackford is pro or anti-independence, and again denied that the Internal Market Bill was a critical blow for devolution.

He responded: "I'm not quite sure from that question whether he is in favour of the Union or not. I take it from his hostility to me that he wants to support the Union, so do I and the best thing he can do is to support the UK Internal Market Bill which buttresses, as he knows, a surge of powers transferred to the devolved administrations in more than 70 areas."