Scottish Secretary tells SNP MPs to ‘polish up’ CVs in Commons row

The Scottish Secretary was met with shouts of “bring it on” as he told SNP MPs to polish up their CVs with the general election approaching.

During a back and forth in the Commons, Alister Jack said the Tories “absolutely do not fear an election” while an SNP MP accused the Westminster Government of “gaslighting” Scottish voters.

This came hours before the Scottish Government survived a vote of no confidence, with the motion defeated by 70 votes to 58.

Mr Jack said: “We absolutely do not fear an election, whether it is a Holyrood election or a general election. As I watch the nationalists implode again, I say bring it on.

“I hear them say bring it on from a sedentary position, bring it on, yes bring it on. And chaps over there and chapesses start polishing up your CV.”

This came in response to Labour’s shadow Scottish secretary Ian Murray, who argued that Scotland is “trapped between two chaotic and failing governments”.

He added: “With neither Government wanting to let the people decide, can the Secretary of State tell the House who he thinks is more scared of a general election – the Tories or the SNP?”

During Scotland questions on Wednesday, SNP MP Chris Stephens claimed that Scotland is facing austerity due to a lack of levelling-up funding.

The Glasgow South West MP said: “So we know that the Budget is cuts to public services across the board, cuts to Scotland’s capital funding and yet levelling up seems to benefit places like, for example, the financial district of Canary Wharf which benefits them by £16,000 per head.

“So is the Secretary of State suggesting that Scotland should accept austerity from this Government but not other parts of the UK?”

Mr Jack said this was a “ridiculous remark”, adding: “The levelling-up agenda in Scotland has been fantastically successful, and there has been absolutely no austerity.

“The Scottish Government receive a block grant, a record block grant of £41 billion, the highest since devolution began.

“And I’m surprised the SNP want to talk about budgets, because the Scottish government’s budget put taxes up and they cut vital public services, so Scots are actually paying more, getting less.”

Following this, SNP MP Gavin Newlands (Paisley and Renfrewshire North) said: “What utter, utter nonsense from the Secretary of State.

“The hypocrisy of this Tory party who are busy gaslighting the Scottish public by complaining about cuts to capital spending whilst the Tory Government is busy cutting 16% – £822 million – from the Scottish government’s capital block grant allocation is quite astonishing.”

Opening the session on Wednesday, Mr Jack said Scotland’s outgoing First Minister Humza Yousaf had been dealt a “rotten hand”.

He said: “We have seen calamitous events again in Scotland this week, however I would like to wish Humza Yousaf very well for the future. I always found him a very decent man to work with and there was no doubt that he was dealt a rotten hand.

“And while I don’t want to dwell unduly on the private grief of the members of the SNP benches, I’ll say this: I very much hope that whoever becomes first minister will work with us on the issues that really matter for the people in Scotland like public services and our economy, and will not continue to obsess with independence.”

Elsewhere, Scottish Labour’s attempt to unseat the Scottish Government failed after the Greens voted against a motion of no confidence.

If the motion had passed, the entire Scottish Government would have been forced to resign, with Holyrood given 28 days to elect a new first minister before an election was called.

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