SNP MPs at Westminster have been “sent to annoy” English voters in a “cynical” attempt to undermine the Union, Ruth Davidson has claimed.
The Scottish Conservative leader said nationalists in the House of Commons are there to set the English against “whining Scots”. She also hinted that she could seek a role at Westminster and join the UK cabinet in the future.
Ms Davidson, who will introduce the Prime Minister ahead of her speech closing the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham today, said figures in devolved politics would become household names across the UK, with more MSPs and MPs swapping places.
“People have to realise the SNP are doing it, why they want to get involved on issues like fox hunting and Sunday trading, which don’t apply in Scotland,” Ms Davidson said. “It is to annoy you, get under the skin of people in England. It is on purpose.”
She referenced polling from the second independence referendum in Quebec, which showed that appeals from the rest of Canada not to leave had a decisive impact in a closely-fought campaign.
Ms Davidson said SNP MPs wanted to “get in the UK papers and get on the UK television and get in the homes of people in England as often as they can to annoy you so you say, actually you say, you whining Scots, will you please just leave. It’s absolutely cynical, and I just think you should be aware that’s what they’re trying to do.”
Last year Nicola Sturgeon abandoned a self-imposed convention that SNP MPs would only vote on matters affecting Scotland. In March, a bid to relax restrictions on Sunday trading hours in England was defeated after the SNP joined Labour and Tory rebels. And in July last year, the UK Government shelved an attempt to water down the ban on fox hunting after the SNP threatened to vote against.
An SNP source drew attention to the fact that Scottish Secretary David Mundell, the only Tory MP in Scotland, voted on Sunday trading.
Ms Davidson has previously ruled out any move to Westminster, saying as recently as March: “It just won’t be me.”
But asked yesterday if she would join Theresa May’s cabinet, Ms Davidson left the door open to a future move, saying: “I’ll be staying out of her majesty’s government for some time, because I’ve got a job to do, and I intend to do it.” And she added: “I think you will begin to see a lot more movement between parliaments and I think that’s healthy.”
In her warm-up act for Mrs May, the Scottish Tory leader will say the SNP “doesn’t speak for all of Scotland.”
“You see Nicola Sturgeon on the TV most weeks telling you how Scotland is up in arms – again. Threatening break-up. Asserting independence is closer now than ever before. Declaring separation is somehow inevitable.
“There is nothing inevitable about the break-up of this great nation and I for one will fight it every inch and so will thousands with me.”
She will also blast Labour claims that Theresa May is “not a real feminist”, saying the Prime Minister has “broken barriers her entire life”.
“She’s done more for women than all the pink election buses Labour can launch,” Ms Davidson will say.