‘Scotland ignored’: First minister says Davidson and Mundell have ‘no option’ but to resign

Ben Wray

Ian Blackford told the prime minister her deal was “dead in the water”

FIRST MINISTER Nicola Sturgeon has said the Scottish Secretary of State David Mundell and Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson have “no option” but to resign following the publication of the draft Brexit Withdrawal Agreement, as the prime minister hangs on by a thread.

Sturgeon made the call at First Minister’s Questions on Thursday [15 November], stating that the deal had broken Mundell and Davidson’s “red line” of no Brexit deal which gave Northern Ireland a separate relationship from the UK to Scotland. Mundell and Davidson both said earlier this month that they would step down if this happened.

The first minister stated: “The European Union is a union of independent countries, look at how it has stood by and stood up for Ireland over the past few years. By contrast as I said to the prime minister on the telephone just last night, the UK Government has ignored Scotland, sidelined Scotland, cast aside Scotland’s interests, stand on the brink of not not just taking us out of the EU against our will, but placing Scotland at a competitive disadvantage with Northern Ireland.

“I don’t think the Tories care a jot about that. Not so long ago the Secretary of State of Scotland and the leader of the Scottish Conservatives were saying that if there was a separate arrangement for Northern Ireland they would resign, where is David Mundell today?”

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Jackson Carlaw MSP, standing-in for Davidson at FMQs while she is on maternity leave, insisted no one in the Scottish Tories would be resigning, but Sturgeon said to not do so would leave Mundell and Davidson “without a shred of credibility”.

Sturgeon said: “Having chosen that red line, it is really hard to see how they stay in office after today without a shred of credibility…what is absolutely unclear to me is how they have any other option to follow through on the principle commitment they made, let’s see over the course of today do they have any principle, do they have a backbone between them? I suspect that answer is going to be a resounding no.”

The answer from Mundell came during FMQ’s, when on ITV Border he said he wouldn’t be resigning, and described Dominic Rabb, who resigned as Brexit Secretary this morning as part of a number of resignations including DWP Secretary Esther McVey, as a “carpet bagger” who was not truly interested in keeping together the UK.

The deal agreed by the UK Government and EU negotiators means that following the two year transition period the Northern Ireland backstop would come into effect, would mean that the UK would be in a replica of the Customs Union with the EU indefinitely if no further agreement is found which is acceptable to both the UK and the EU. The European Court of Justice will also have a role in arbitrating on legal issues pertaining to the UK, something the prime minister had previously said would not happen.

The prime minister addressed the House of Commons this morning, and was met by criticism from almost every MP on every side of the house.

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford MP said to May that she was “trrying to sell us a deal that is already dead in the water.”

He lamented the fact that Scotland was not mentioned in the draft Withdrawal Agreement.

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Blackford said: “What is absolutely shocking is that Scotland is not once mentioned in the document…not once is the unique characteristics of Scotland’s devolved settlement worthy of mention. And yet, 100 mentions of Northern Ireland, mentions of Gibraltar, Cyprus, of the Isle of Man. Utter contempt has once again been shown to Scotland and its people.

“Differential deals for Northern Ireland, means Scotland can have a differentiated deal. If Northern Ireland can stay in the Single Market, why not Scotland, prime minister?

“What has happened to the claim of a partnership of equals? Why does the PM stand in the face of the legitimate demands of the Scottish Government and Scottish Parliament? Show some respect to the devolved institutions… Why was the Scottish Government not consulted just as Gibraltar was before the meeting of the Cabinet yesterday?

“Stop the clock and go back to Brussels.”

May responded by stating that “Scotland is not specifically mentioned” because “Scotland is part of the United Kingdom.”

The prime minister appeared to have lost the support of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which the UK Government has had a confidence and supply arrangement with which has allowed the Tories to remain in power. The DUP Westminster leader Nigel Dodds said May had not listened to his party, and that members of Parliament now had a decision about whether they would “stand up for the integrity of the United Kingdom or vote for a vassal state with the break up of the United Kingdom”.

Picture courtesy of Tiocfaidh ár lá 1916

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