On Monday, on a visit to the Faslane naval base, Mr. Johnson did his best to defuse that risk, promising hundreds of millions of pounds for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and appealing for a renewal of “the ties that bind our United Kingdom.”
He also softened his tone over Brexit after days of news reports about ramped-up government preparations for an exit without an agreement.
When asked about statements by his cabinet ally, Michael Gove, that a “no-deal” departure was the most likely outcome — comments that prompted a fall in the value of the pound sterling, which reached a 28-month low Monday — Mr. Johnson demurred.
“No, absolutely not,” he told reporters. “My assumption is that we can get a new deal. We’re aiming for a new deal.”
An economically damaging no-deal Brexit, forced on Scotland by the government in London, could be a gift to those campaigning for Scottish independence.
In Mr. Johnson, Scotland’s pro-independence first minister, Ms. Sturgeon, has something like a perfect pantomime villain — a walking, breathing (and often joking) reminder that decisions can be imposed on Scots by members of a remote elite, educated at expensive English schools and exclusive universities.
So toxic was Mr. Johnson’s image in Scotland that its Conservative lawmakers tried in vain to orchestrate a campaign to stop him from becoming prime minister.
In Push to Leave One Union, U.K.’s Boris Johnson Risks Another – The New York Times