General Election 2019: Voters must choose between more division or 'people's priorities', claims David Mundell
Former Scottish Secretary David Mundell has claimed that Scottish voters face a choice in the general election between "nationalist division" or "the delivery of people's priorities".
Mr Mundell, who was sacked from his Cabinet role when Boris Johnson became Prime Minister, said the Conservatives had delivered for Scotland on whisky, oil and gas, and agriculture.
Launching his campaign to keep his seat in Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweedale, Mr Mundell - who was once the sole Tory MP in Scotland - said that Nicola Sturgeon was "laying out the red carpet to Jeremy Corbyn" in a bid to "impose" a second Scottish independence referendum.
His comments came as the First Minister said she was appealing to all pro-Remain voters to back the SNP to stop Brexit, and Scottish Labour attempted to put the focus on domestic issues, pledging a UK Labour government would spend £10 billion building 120,000 homes at council and social rents to to end homelessness "once and for all in Scotland".
However speaking today in Peebles alongside Scottish Tory interim leader Jackson Carlaw, Mr Mundell, who supported the Remain campaign at the 2016 EU referendum, said the SNP was only offering more division.
“The choice at this election is clear: either we get more division from the SNP or more delivery of people’s priorities with Scottish Conservatives," he said. “Whether it’s supporting our oil and gas industry, the whisky trade or our rural economy, Scottish Conservatives have fought hard in Whitehall to get Scotland’s voice heard. Every Scottish Conservative MP elected next month will press hard for more.
“By contrast, Nationalist MPs have one job only – to be Nicola Sturgeon’s little Westminster helpers and secure another divisive independence referendum."
Mr Mundell said the record of Scottish Conservative MPs over the last two years, included a freeze on whisky duty, £2.3bn tax relief for the oil and gas sector, a seasonal workers scheme for Scottish agriculture, a VAT exemption for Police Scotland, and extra funding for Scottish farmers.
He also said his party had delivered compensation for armed forces personnel in Scotland who had been "hit by SNP tax hikes", delivered the country’s first spaceport in Sutherland and committed over £1 billion to support Growth Deals across Scotland.
Labour has denied doing any backroom deals with the SNP. Shadow chancellor John McDonnell has said if reports of Nicola Sturgeon meeting with Whitehall civil servants were true she was "wasting her time".
He added: "There will be no pacts or coalitions with the SNP. Labour’s plan for real change will give 700,000 Scots a pay rise and deliver around £70bn worth of investment that will transform Scotland’s communities and public services.
"We intend to win a majority but if we end up with a minority administration, we will put that policy programme to Parliament and if the SNP don’t support that then they will have to explain to the Scottish people why they rejected such a transformative agenda for Scotland."