Conservatives are bigger threat to Union than Scottish nationalists, Labour claim

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The Conservatives are now a bigger threat to the Union than the Scottish nationalists, Labour has claimed.

During Scottish questions, shadow Scottish secretary Lesley Laird said: “The Secretary of State wants us to believe that this Government are guardians of the union, yet by already pandering to the dog-whistle politics of English nationalism the next Prime Minister has already abandoned the tradition of the Conservative and Unionist Party.

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“The Tory Party are a real and present danger to the integrity of the United Kingdom.”
Ms Laird echoed the calls of senior SNP MP Pete Wishart for Scottish Secretary David Mundell to resign.

Mr Wishart said earlier comments by the Scottish Secretary about Boris Johnson meant he should “have some backbone” and quit his post.

Later, Ms Laird added: “Politics is about principles. A few month’s ago the Secretary of State told us that the threat to the integrity of the United Kingdom was the principle issue for him.

“But he also told us and I quote ‘Mr Johnson and I don’t agree on a whole range of issues and I don’t see myself able to serve in that way’.

“So how far will the Secretary of State allow his principles to be stretched in defence the Union just so he can keep his job?”

Scotland Secretary David Mundell said: “I’m not going to take any lessons from the honourable lady on questions of leadership.”

Ms Laird echoed the calls of senior SNP MP Pete Wishart for Scottish Secretary David Mundell to resign.

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Mr Wishart said earlier comments by the Scottish Secretary about Boris Johnson meant he should “have some backbone” and quit his post.

Later, Ms Laird added: “Politics is about principles. A few month’s ago the Secretary of State told us that the threat to the integrity of the United Kingdom was the principle issue for him.

“But he also told us and I quote ‘Mr Johnson and I don’t agree on a whole range of issues and I don’t see myself able to serve in that way’.

“So how far will the Secretary of State allow his principles to be stretched in defence the Union just so he can keep his job?”

Scotland Secretary David Mundell said: “I’m not going to take any lessons from the honourable lady on questions of leadership.”

SNP Tommy Sheppard (Edinburgh East) read out a quotation from Mr Mundell about Boris Johnson, asking: “Has he now overcome his disappointment and will he continue to serve the new Prime Minister?”

Mr Mundell replied: “My priority remains Scotland’s place within the UK and that, in Government or out, will be my continuing priority.”

Mr Sheppard added: “If he is against a no-deal Brexit would it not be a better look for Scotland for him to do likewise rather than wait to be sacked or abolished?”

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Mr Mundell replied: “There is no evidence that the SNP has at any time been serious about getting a deal for Scotland on each occasion they’ve had the opportunity to vote for a deal they have voted against it.”

The Independent Group for Change MP Anna Soubry said she hoped Mr Mundell “stays in his position”, but added he would have to “sign the pledge” to leaving the EU, deal or no-deal.

Mr Mundell replied: “I fear that (her) endorsement will have sealed my fate.”

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