TONY Blair has accused Boris Johnson of putting the “Union at risk” with his Brexit stance.

Speaking in Edinburgh, the former prime minister launched a stinging attack on the Tory leader, saying Johnson’s countenance of a No-Deal added “a dimension of argument to the independence”.

Blair also told reporters he would “struggle” to vote for Labour under Jeremy Corbyn and said talk of a government of national unity was “academic”.

The former Labour leader was speaking to journalists ahead of a speech at Reform Scotland to mark 20 years of devolution. He said: “Is Boris Johnson putting the Union at risk by Brexit?

“Yes ,of course, it does put the Union at risk. It puts Northern Ireland at risk, it puts Scotland at risk because Scotland voted overwhelmingly for staying inside the European Union.”

Blair also said he would be surprised if Corbyn entered into “horse-trading about the Union” as part of any post-election deal with the SNP.

Over the weekend, Ian Blackford, below, said the SNP would demand a Section 30 order, devolving the power to hold another independence referendum to Holyrood, in return for supporting a minority Labour government.

Labour’s position has been confused in recent months, although last month Scottish leader Richard Leonard said the party would commit to opposing a further independence poll in its next UK manifesto.

The National:

Blair told reporters: “I would be surprise if [Corbyn] enters into horse-trading about the Union. It would be a big mistake.

He added: I’m not privy to his innermost thoughts – I think he’d rather talk to the allotment than talk to me – but I doubt very much, I don’t think he would do that trade, at least I hope he wouldn’t.”

Asked how he thought the next indyref would go, Blair said he hoped “the strength of the ties between Scotland and the rest of the UK will prevail”.

He added: “Even though I think Brexit, and particularly a No-Deal Brexit adds a dimension of argument to the independence cause.

“At the same time you would have to say if Scotland is part of Brexit, especially a No-Deal Brexit, that would be a sufficient shock to its economy that you would think people would hesitate very long and hard before putting on top of that an additional shock.”

Later in his speech, Blair said the Brexit deal being put forward by the Tory Government which, effectively, keeps Northern Ireland staying within the single market, would help push Scots towards independence

He said: “The reasons for the Union between England and Scotland remain powerful. But the separate treatment of Northern Ireland when Scotland, too, has substantial interests in staying within Europe’s trade zone, will not go unremarked.”

Asked how he would vote at the next election, Blair said it would be a struggle to support Labour.

He said: “I’m not intending to vote for anyone else. It’s a struggle, I worry a lot about the direction of the Labour Party. I found the debate and controversy over anti-Semitism distressing, extremely distressing.

“I think there is a sectarianism that has been brought into the Labour Party that is damaging.”