Steerpike

Downing Street’s royal snub

Downing Street's royal snub
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Making the case for the union is a rather uphill task these days. With the SNP on course for a majority in next year's Scottish parliament elections and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon polling well with the public, many Tory MPs comes across as rather defeatist on the issue. But try they must. So, Mr S was curious to listen in to today's No. 10 lobby briefing.

Sturgeon has had some rare negative press this week after she refused to endorse the decision by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to embark on a three-day tour – stopping in Edinburgh. Critics suggested she was being a misery-guts – putting nationalism ahead of an effort by the popular couple to thank those workers who helped guide the country through the Covid crisis.

So when a No. 10 spokesperson was asked today whether Boris Johnson supported the royal couple's effort, it appeared to be an open goal. Apparently not. Instead a No. 10 spokesman refused to be drawn on whether it was Covid compliant – stating it was 'a matter for the Palace'.

Johnson's next call with the Queen ought to be interesting...

Update: That didn't take long. A No 10 spokesman has rowed back: ‘The PM is delighted to see the warm reception the Duke+Duchess of Cambridge have received on their hugely valuable train tour of England, Scotland and Wales. The tour will be a welcome morale boost to frontline workers...' 

Written bySteerpike

Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to steerpike@spectator.co.uk.

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