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Salmond: Will May let 'jester' Boris shape policies?

Alex Salmond has dismissed Boris Johnson as a "court jester" but said the real "test" will be whether Theresa May allows cabinet members with more gravitas to shape her policies.

"The real issue is this - are the serious politicians ... going to be playing second fiddle to someone like Boris Johnson," the former SNP leader told ITV News.

"Has she [Prime Minister May] just got Boris Johnson to give everyone a laugh, or is she going to let him, I don't know, give away the Channel Islands by mistake in negotiations."

Mr Salmond, who is the SNP's spokesperson on foreign affairs, said that with Mr Johnson as foreign minister "everyone is going to have a giggle at our expense", but added that given recent political manouvering "perhaps that's not a bad thing".

Salmond: Second Scottish independence referendum could be within two years

Alex Salmond. Credit: ITV News

The timescale for another Scottish referendum will be dictated by when and if David Cameron begins negotiations for Britain to withdraw from the EU, Alex Salmond has said.

The former Scottish First Minister and remain supporter told ITV News's Tom Bradby that another vote on Scottish independence could take place within two years.

"From when that starting gun is fired, it's a two-year period," Mr Salmond said.

"So whatever that period is - two years, two-and-a-half years, that would have to be the timescale of the next referendum because what you would want to do is remain in the European Union while the rest of the UK moved out."

Mr Salmond pointed out that the SNP's manifesto said if Scotland was "dragged out" of Europe against the will of the Scottish people, then the Scottish parliament should have the right to hold another independence referendum.

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