In his first interview since reading the full draft withdrawal agreement on Tuesday night, David Mundell has given a strong defence of his decision to stay in the Cabinet - and twice dismissed ex-Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab as a ‘carpetbagger’.
The Scottish Secretary came under fresh pressure to resign after Mr Raab quit this morning over Theresa May’s draft withdrawal agreement, warning it would damage the union.
Speaking to ITV Border’s Peter MacMahon, Mr Mundell said: “I’m not taking lessons on standing up for our United Kingdom from carpetbaggers.
“Only a couple of years ago Dominic Raab was proposing to introduce a bill of rights into Scotland that would have overridden the Scottish legal system and devolution, so I’m not impressed by his latter-day commitment to the Union. I’m sure this is more about manoeuvring and leadership. I’m absolutely committed to the integrity of the United Kingdom.
“I made clear at the cabinet yesterday that I needed to understand in greater detail the 150 pages of the Northern Ireland protocol and be satisfied that they didn’t indeed compromise the integrity of the United Kingdom, but I also take very seriously my job in ensuring that Scotland and the United Kingdom get the best possible Brexit that doesn’t also threaten the integrity of the United Kingdom and that’s what I’m still committed to doing.
“I believe that the best way of keeping the United Kingdom together is to ensure that we have a deal as we leave the EU, that Brexit delivers for Scotland and the rest of the UK, and that’s what I’m focused on, not being part of some soap opera of resignations, and I’m not going to be bounced into resigning by carpetbaggers.”
Mr Mundell said he backed the draft Brexit withdrawal agreement put before the cabinet on Wednesday despite widespread concern over provisions on Northern Ireland and fisheries.
He had come under pressure from within the Scottish Conservative group at Westminster to quit, with the pro-Brexit MP Ross Thomson understood to have called on him to resign.