Truss and allies launch attack on ‘attention-seeker’ Sturgeon

Liz Truss said the Scottish First Minister should be ignored, while Jacob Rees-Mogg said she is ‘always moaning’.

02 August 2022

Liz Truss and her allies have launched personal attacks on Nicola Sturgeon, something which could further strain the relationship between Westminster and Holyrood if the Tory leadership hopeful becomes the next prime minister.

The Foreign Secretary labelled the First Minister an “attention-seeker” who should be ignored, while Ms Truss’s ally, Jacob Rees-Mogg, said the Scottish National Party leader is “always moaning”.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said the attack on Ms Sturgeon from someone hoping to be the next occupant of No 10 is “completely and utterly unacceptable”.

Ms Truss, who spent time in Paisley as a youngster, described herself as a “child of the Union” and has claimed that “some Scots love me”.

At Monday night’s leadership hustings she took aim at Ms Sturgeon and her push for another independence referendum in October 2023.

“She’s an attention-seeker, that’s what she is,” Ms Truss said as she rejected the idea of another plebiscite if she becomes prime minister.

“What we need to do is show the people of Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales what we’re delivering for them and making sure that all of our Government policies apply right across the United Kingdom.”

Brexit Opportunities Minister Mr Rees-Mogg doubled down on the attack, telling Sky News on Tuesday: “When she’s waffling on endlessly about having a referendum and going to the Supreme Court and all of this, we need to be saying ‘Hold on – you’re doing this because you’re failing to deliver for the people of Scotland, and the United Kingdom Government will have to deliver for the people of Scotland as well’.”

He added: “I think she’s very often wrong, she’s always moaning, and we need to focus on how the Union benefits people.”

Nicola Sturgeon visit to Forge Medical Centre
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon plans to hold a second independence referendum in October 2023 (Jeff J Mitchell/PA)

Mr Swinney told the BBC that “people in Scotland, whatever their politics, will be absolutely horrified by the obnoxious remarks that Liz Truss has made”.

He said: “The unionist campaigners suggest Scotland should be at the heart of the United Kingdom, and how Scotland can be expected to be at the heart of the UK when the democratically elected leader of our country is, in the view of the person most likely to be the next prime minister of the UK, somebody that should be ignored is completely and utterly unacceptable.

“I think Liz Truss has fundamentally, with one, silly, intemperate intervention, fundamentally undermined the argument she tries to put forward: that Scotland, somehow, can be fairly and well treated at the heart of the United Kingdom.”

SNP MP Chris Law said it was a display of “utter contempt from the future PM”.

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