EU referendum: Mundells split on EU as son votes for Brexit

Scottish Secretary David Mundell back Remain. Picture: Ian Georgeson

Scottish Secretary David Mundell back Remain. Picture: Ian Georgeson

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The first political act of Scottish Secretary David Mundell’s son Oliver has been to rebel against his father by supporting a Brexit vote. Oliver Mundell, the newly-elected Conservative MSP for Dumfriesshire, was one of eight MSPs to vote against a Holyrood motion calling for the UK’s continued membership of the European Union last night.

His stance sets him against his father and fellow Tory, who as a member of David Cameron’s Cabinet has been supporting the Prime Minister’s case for Britain to remain in the EU.

MSPs overwhelmingly backed the motion by 106 votes to eight.

The eight dissenters came from the Conservative and Labour ranks. There were three abstentions.

The other Tories voting to break from the EU included Margaret Mitchell, a known Eurosceptic.

Gordon Lindhurst, Graham Simpson, Alexander Stewart and Ross Thomson were new Conservative MSPs who declared themselves in favour of Brexit.

Another new face Maurice Corry of the Tories also voted to leave, but it later emerged that he had pressed the wrong button.

Elaine Smith of Labour was the only MSP from outside the Conservatives to vote against EU membership. Ms Smith argued the EU was an “undemocratic superstate”.

Her fellow Labour left-winger Neil Findlay abstained. The others to abstain were Jamie Greene and Alison Harris of the Tories.

Last night Oliver Mundell said problems with the common agricultural policy (CAP)was behind his decision. I think it’s important to stand up and be counted and that’s why I’m going to be voting to leave,” he said on television.

“I think there are real challenges around the common agricultural policy and it’s one of the areas where we’ve had a less good deal… At the moment we are a net contributor to the CAP pot, and I think that we need to make sure the support that is available, whether we stay in the EU or come out, is still there for local farmers to ensure the continuation of the family farm.”

Asked if this would affect his relationship with his father, Oliver Mundell said: “I don’t think so. We get on very well. We agree on a whole range of issues and this is just one thing where we’ve taken a different view.

“But we have a got a separate mandate.

“We might be elected by a lot of the same people, but ultimately people have put their their trust in me and it’s important to have a range of view on this debate. It shouldn’t just be seen as a whitewash where everyone in elected office in Scotland is expected to vote in.”

David Mundell said: “Oliver always made it clear he would be his own man.

“He has own mandate and is entitled to take his own position on this issue, as indeed on any other matter. I respect his opinion on the EU, but obviously don’t agree with it.

“However, it’s not up to Oliver or me whether we stay in or leave the EU, it’s the British people who will decide and what we both agree is that we will accept their verdict.”

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