Nicola Sturgeon accuses Boris Johnson of a ‘subconscious powerplay’ attempt at Edinburgh meeting

Nicola Sturgeon lashed out at Boris Johnson today, accusing him of attempting a ‘subconscious powerplay’ at their first meeting after he became Prime Minister.

The Scottish First Minister said Mr Johnson made an ‘inappropriate’ move to usher her into Bute House when they sat down for talks last week.

The two leaders had a frosty face-to-face meeting at her official residence in Edinburgh, as Mr Johnson kicked off a Brexit row by defiantly telling her it was happening on October 31 whether she likes it or not. 

He was booed by protesters on his way into Bute House before appearing to raise his arm behind Ms Sturgeon, who said something to him and waited for him to drop it before walking inside behind her guest.

‘I don’t think I said: ”Put your arm down”,’ she told the Guardian today.

‘Those kind of things happen in a flash. But I am aware that he was trying to do something that some people would describe as chivalrous and other people would say was a subconscious powerplay. I was kind of aware of him trying to usher me in.’ 

‘And I think, in the instant, I thought: ”That’s inappropriate – you go in first.” But these things happen in a nanosecond. It wasn’t at all deliberate on my part.’

Mr Johnson appeared to raise his arm behind Ms Sturgeon in a style she suggested was an attempt to usher her inside Bute House

Mr Johnson appeared to raise his arm behind Ms Sturgeon in a style she suggested was an attempt to usher her inside Bute House

Mr Johnson appeared to raise his arm behind Ms Sturgeon in a style she suggested was an attempt to usher her inside Bute House

But she is shown in the video from last week speaking to him, and he lowers his arm and goes inside ahead of her

But she is shown in the video from last week speaking to him, and he lowers his arm and goes inside ahead of her

But she is shown in the video from last week speaking to him, and he lowers his arm and goes inside ahead of her

Mr Johnson’s hardline Brexit approach last Monday sparked a furious response, with the First Minister accusing him of secretly wanting a No Deal Brexit instead of a deal with Brussels.

The less-than warm reception came after the premier promised to renew ‘the ties that bind our United Kingdom’ and unveiled plans to release £300million for ‘growth deals’.

Downing Street also suggested he dismissed her demand for a second Scottish independence referendum.

After the talks, a Number 10 spokesman said: ‘The Prime Minister said he was a passionate believer in the power of the Union and he would work tirelessly to strengthen the United Kingdom and improve the lives of people right across Scotland.

The two leaders has a frosty meeting at Bute House, in which they clashed over the Prime minister's Brexit strategy

The two leaders has a frosty meeting at Bute House, in which they clashed over the Prime minister's Brexit strategy

The two leaders has a frosty meeting at Bute House, in which they clashed over the Prime minister’s Brexit strategy

‘On Brexit, (he) said that while the government’s preference is to negotiate a new deal which abolishes the anti-democratic backstop, the UK will be leaving the EU on October 31st come what may.’

Mrs Sturgeon hit back by accusing Mr Johnson of wanting a No Deal Brexit and said his Government was ‘dangerous’ .

‘He says publicly – and he said it to me again today – that he wants a deal with the EU, but there is no clarity whatsoever about how he thinks he can get from the position now where he’s taking a very hard line – the Withdrawal Agreement is dead, the backstop is dead,’ she said.

‘If I listen to all of that and listen to what’s not being said as well as what is being said, I think that this is a Government that is pursuing a no-deal strategy, however much they may deny that in public.’

Ms Sturgeon told the Guardian today she ‘abhores’ what Mr Johnson is doing, adding: ‘So I don’t think it will be surprising to anyone to hear me say that I wasn’t absolutely thrilled to be welcoming Boris Johnson as Prime Minister.’  

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