BORIS Johnson is to chair a new council made up of the heads of the devolved governments in a bid to strengthen the ties of the Union.

The UK Government has announced a new three-tiered structure to the way in which the central Westminster administration will work with those in Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.

Revealing its Intergovernmental Relations (IGR) Review, the Tory government said the plans would help the four governments work together with the principles of “mutual respect, maintaining trust and positive working”.

The three-tier structure will have the council chaired by the Prime Minister at its head. The second tier will consist of two committees. One will be chaired by the Minister for Intergovernmental Relations, currently Michael Gove (below), while the second will focus on finance.

The National: Michael Gove

The UK Government said there would also be the ability to create time-limited committees agreed by consensus to deal with specific issues as required. These would also sit on the second tier.

The third tier will then be made up of “Interministerial Groups” led by individual departments, which will cover a wide range of policy issues within a given minister’s or department’s portfolio.

The new structures will reportedly be supported by an independent secretariat made up of civil servants seconded from all four governments, and will serve the UK Government and its devolved counterparts equally.

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The Tory government said all four of the devolved nations had signed up to the new working processes.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “When team UK pulls together in common cause, spirit and endeavour we will always be at our very best.

“We’ve shown time and time again the combined strength we have in facing off the shared challenges before us, while also seizing the opportunities ahead for the benefit of the whole United Kingdom.

“Today’s announcements build upon that strength as we all continue to work together to deliver for the British people.”

Michael Gove added: “Devolution has empowered communities and resulted in huge benefits across the United Kingdom.

“Today’s landmark agreement will build on the incredible amount of collaboration already taking place between the UK Government and the devolved administrations.

“By working together even more effectively, we can better overcome the challenges we face, create greater opportunities and improve people’s lives for the better.”

The announcement was also hailed by the Tory Secretaries of State for Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.

The Scottish Government has been approached for comment.