BORIS Johnson failed to ask any journalists from Scottish-based publications to a Downing Street press briefing on negotiations on the future relationship of the UK and EU.

The snub was pointed out by The Scotsman’s Westminster correspondent Paris Gourtsoyannis after several political reporters and editors from London-based newspapers were also banned from the meeting – which prompted a boycott by many other publications.

Gourtsoyannis wrote on Twitter yesterday: “Downing Street – which always says how much it values the Union and regions – didn’t even tell Scottish or regional media outlets about the briefing”.

Michael Settle, The Herald’s UK political editor, confirmed he did not receive an invitation to the briefing.

The development emerged after a number of journalists from London-based publications were refused entry to the briefing yesterday afternoon. Those banned included The Mirror, i, Huffington Post, PoliticsHome and The Independent.

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Reporters on the list allowed in were asked to stand on one side of a rug in the foyer of Number 10 while those not allowed in were asked by security to stand on the other side.

After one of Boris Johnson’s most senior advisers, Lee Cain, told the banned reporters they must leave the building, the rest of the journalists decided to walk out rather than allow Downing Street to choose who scrutinises and reports on the Government.

Among those who refused the briefing and walked out included the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg, ITV’s Robert Peston and political journalists from the Daily Mail, Telegraph, The Sun, Financial Times, and the Guardian.

The briefing was due to be given by government officials, who are meant to be neutral, rather than political.

The snub of the Scottish-based newspaper journalists and those of the Prime Minister’s less-favoured London-based titles echoes Theresa May’s ban of The National from her press briefing during the then-Prime Minister’s visit to Scotland in November 2018.

Yesterday’s ban provoked an outcry. Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said: “Political journalists were right to act in solidarity and walk out of a Number 10 briefing on the EU, when colleagues were barred from attending.

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“If reports are true, and reporters from The Mirror, i, Huffington Post, PoliticsHome, Independent and others were denied access by government senior adviser Lee Cain, this is a very alarming incident.

“Government officials should not be attacking freedom of the press this way. As ministers are now regularly refusing to be accountable for their actions by boycotting certain programmes and journalists, this represents another very dangerous step.

“Johnson’s government must stop this paranoia and engage with all the press, not just their favourites.”

The tactics from No 10 mirror those of Donald Trump in the US, who has been known to try to exclude journalists from reporting on his activities, and represents an escalation of Johnson’s tensions with the media, which have been ramping up in recent weeks.

While excluding the Scottish press from events, Johnson is said to be preparing to lovebomb Scotland with a £5 million taxpayer-funded advertising blitz aimed at saving the Union.

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The campaign, starting on Valentine’s Day or soon after, is said to include “a tubthumping video” in cinemas, as well as TV, radio and digital ads.

UK ministers have reportedly said to have been impressed by Scotland Is Now, a Scottish Government-backed campaign to promote the country.

According to a report in The Sunday Times last weekend, the UK Government is expected to spend about £1 for every person in Scotland in a year-long effort to win over independence supporters. A source told the paper that Johnson would put the Union “front and centre” to try to head off demands for a second independence referendum.

“There is a consensus in Downing Street that this is the one issue – perhaps after Brexit – that could derail Johnson’s premiership,” the source added.

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford said: “Whether on Valentine’s Day or not, Boris Johnson will find this to be unrequited love between him and Scotland.

“What Boris Johnson has to do is respect democracy, recognise the mandate the Scottish Government has, and allow Scotland to have an independence referendum.”