Davidson takes gay marriage case to Ulster

The Scottish Conservative leader delivered a “positive message” about gay marriage last night when she delivered the annual Amnesty Pride lecture, STV reports.

Ruth Davidson recently got engaged to her partner Jen, and is quoted as saying that “As a practising Christian, a protestant and a unionist who is engaged to a Catholic Irishwoman, for me, equal marriage isn’t about one religion, country or community”.

Northern Ireland is last part of the UK where social conservatism commands real political power – the Democratic Unionist Party, the largest in the Assembly, is resolutely opposed to gay marriage.

In a less welcome bit of cultural crossover, the Herald tells us that Glasgow City Council have blocked a march through the city by Irish Republicans because of the “‘clear potential’ for serious disorder and violence”.

Davies jumps to Johnson’s defence

The Welsh Conservative leader, has defended the Foreign Secretary after Welsh nationalists criticised his appointment.

Andrew RT Davies, who publicly campaigned for Brexit and helped to deliver Wales’ majority vote for Leave, described Boris Johnson as a “great friend to Wales”, according to Wales Online.

Plaid Cymru are calling for Wales to grossly exceed the reasonable limits of devolution by having its own foreign policy – a luxury not even afforded to such well-established, actually federal entities like Bavaria and Texas.

Brexit: No rise in support for Scottish independence…

The Daily Telegraph relates that, despite the seemingly cast-iron certainties of Europhile unionists, our vote to leave the European Union has not boosted support for a breakaway north of the border.

Indeed, drilling down into the polls finds that emphasising the EU angle actually costs the Nationalists more support from working-class Eurosceptics than they pick up from disaffected middle-class unionists.

Pollsters also found that 32 per cent of Scots want to wait until Britain’s final EU deal is known before having another referendum – a point by which it will be far too late to avoid leaving with Britain regardless of the outcome – and 25 per cent don’t want another vote before 2030.

As I argued before the vote, it was difficult to see where the fatal surge of Europhile outrage was supposed to come from. As a result Nicola Sturgeon has whipped up her core support without winning over the swing voters needed for a winning margin – which could cause her administration trouble down the line.

…as Fox’s position on EU customs union raises border fears

Concerns about the UK’s border with the Republic of Ireland have been heightened by reports that the International Trade Secretary is pushing for Theresa May to withdraw the UK from the European customs union.

The Belfast Telegraph reports that Liam Fox believes the EU customs arrangement stifles international trade and that remaining a member will greatly reduce Britain’s freedom to strike new deals elsewhere.

Yet the Treasury warns that departing would break the UK’s common customs relationship with Ireland, necessitating new customs checks on the border with Northern Ireland.

On a more positive note, shoppers from the Republic have been surging across the border to take advantage of the weakened pound, according to the Daily Express, providing a welcome boost for Northern Irish retailers.

Despite concerns about the effect of Brexit on the UK-Irish border, Sinn Fein have so far had less luck even than the SNP in whipping up any separatist momentum out of the result.

The paper also suggests that Ireland may make moves to join the Commonwealth in order to reassure unionists about Ireland’s ongoing relationship with Britain.

UKIP’s Gill under pressure over dual roles

A senior member of UKIP’s Welsh team is under attack for holding dual roles as a member of both the European Parliament and the Welsh Assembly – and risks getting “kicked out of the party”.

Wales Online reports that Gill, an ally of Nigel Farage who lost out to Neil Hamilton for the leadership of UKIP’s seven-strong Assembly group, has been asked to resign his Assembly seat by no fewer than five of them if he doesn’t step back from Brussels.

The sudden eruption of the row – Gill has, after all, been in post since May – seems likely to be part of the broader power struggle (which has also snared the leadership bid of Stephen Woolfe, another Faragiste) that has broken out in the upper ranks of the People’s Army as it tries to choose Farage’s successor.