Johnson Finds He Can’t Tell One Scot From Another in Fresh Gaffe

(Bloomberg) -- There was a revealing moment for Boris Johnson on Wednesday, as he appeared not to be able to tell one Scot from another, suggesting Liberal Democrat former cabinet minister Alistair Carmichael is a Scottish Nationalist.

Carmichael, who was Scottish Secretary until 2015, asked a question in Parliament about beef labeling, an important matter to farmers in his constituency of Orkney and Shetland, islands north of Scotland.

Johnson in reply professed ignorance of the issue, continuing: “I can only say that it must be governed by one of those things that is currently governed by the laws of the European Union, to which he is bound to return an independent Scotland, should that catastrophe ever arise.”

But Carmichael is a committed opponent of Scottish independence. Indeed, he was one of the leaders of the fight against it in the coalition between Johnson’s Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats until 2015.

He is well known in Westminster and has been in Parliament since 2001, the same year Johnson first became an MP. It seems likely that, hearing a Scottish accent, Johnson went straight to a stock reply about independence.

Carmichael was unimpressed. “Downing Street staff literally give Boris a sheet of paper with MPs’ pictures, names and parties and still he gets it wrong,” he said. “That in itself is a bit worrying. It makes me wonder how he might cope with the nuclear codes.”

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