Liz Truss and her allies have launched personal attacks on Nicola Sturgeon, which could further strain the relationship between Westminster and Holyrood if the Tory leadership hopeful becomes the next Prime Minister.
The Foreign Secretary branded the Prime Minister an “attention seeker” who should be ignored, while Ms Truss’s ally Jacob Rees-Mogg said the leader of the Scottish National Party ” always moaning.”
Deputy First Minister John Swinney said the attack on Ms Sturgeon by someone who hoped to be the next occupant of No 10 was “completely and utterly unacceptable”.
Ms Truss, who spent time in Paisley as a youngster, described herself as a “daughter of the Union” and has claimed that “some Scots love me”.
In Monday night’s leadership quest, he 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,” Truss said as she dismissed 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 are offering them and make sure that all our government’s policies apply across the UK.”
The Brexit Opportunities Minister, Mr. Rees-Mogg, redoubled the attack, telling Sky News on Tuesday: “When he’s talking non-stop about having a referendum and going to the Supreme Court and all that, we have to say, ‘Wait, you’re doing this because you are not doing things for the people of Scotland, and the UK Government will have to do it for the people of Scotland too.”
He added: “I think he’s often wrong, he’s always whining and we need to focus on how the Union benefits people.”
Swinney told the BBC that “the people of Scotland, whatever their politics, will be absolutely horrified by the hateful comments that Liz Truss has made”.
He said: “Unionist campaigners are suggesting that Scotland should be at the heart of the UK, and how can Scotland be expected to be at the heart of the UK when the democratically elected leader of our country is, according to the person most likely to is the next Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, someone who should be ignored is completely and utterly unacceptable.
“I think Liz Truss has fundamentally undermined, with a silly and over-the-top intervention, fundamentally the argument she’s trying to make: that Scotland can somehow be treated fairly and well at the heart of the United Kingdom.”
SNP MP Chris Law said it was a display of “absolute contempt for the future Prime Minister”.