Jacob Rees-Mogg humiliated Nicola Sturgeon over her “failed” record in power as Scottish First Minister. This comes after Aberdeen Council stunned the SNP by voting to open talks with UK ministers about Westminster directly funding the city, bypassing the Scottish Parliament and SNP ministers. Mr Rees-Mogg said the move shows Aberdeen “wants to separate from Edinburgh to avoid the machinations and failures of the SNP”.
He highlighted the SNP’s “failures in education, the failures in policing and the failures in the health service in Scotland”.
The leader of the House of Commons’s response came after the SNP’s Tommy Sheppard pressed Mr Rees-Mogg on Thursday about an independence referendum.
Mr Sheppard asked: “When will this Parliament have the opportunity to consider changing opinion in Scotland?
“And if people vote in the coming Scottish general election to review the way Scotland is governed, will this government respect this vote?”
Mr Rees-Mogg rebuked the question, pointing out that Scottish councils are desperately trying to escape SNP control, “proving the strength of the union”.
He told the House of Commons: “The strength of the UK grows everyday. What is Aberdeen saying?
“They are saying ‘Let’s cut out this failed administration run by the SNP – why don’t we go directly to London to have our settlement done with London?’
“Is it not fascinating that the failures of the left-wing SNP are making councils in Scotland try to escape from its auspices and authority?
The UK Government has since launched proposals to deal with Scottish councils directly in an attempt to prove the benefits of the union and squash an independence vote.
Councillor Jenny Laing, co-leader of Aberdeen City Council, accused the SNP of launching an “assault” on local government which is “impacting severely on local government’s ability to fulfil its obligations”.
The Aberdeen Labour leader said Mr Rees-Mogg was “right to point out the failures of the SNP and the strength of the UK”.
However, the SNP’s Aberdeen South MP Stephen Flynn said the move gives another “clear sign” that the UK Government is trying to “pull the drawbridge up on devolution and reduce the role of the Scottish Parliament”.