Labour calls for David Mundell to resign as Scottish secretary

Scottish Secretary David Mundell has faced calls to resign.
Scottish Secretary David Mundell has faced calls to resign.
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David Mundell should resign as Secretary of State for Scotland as he is "not up to the job", it was claimed today.

Labour's Shadow Scottish Secretary, Lesley Laird, said two recent select committee reports had recommended transforming the Scotland Office and the role of the Scottish Secretary, and as a result Mr Mundell should go.

The Scottish Affairs Select Committee's report into the relationship between the UK and Scottish governments recommended a review of the role of the Scotland Office and the Secretary of State for Scotland.

A second report - by the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee - on reconciling differences and building strong relationships between devolved government after Brexit - also said the government should review the structure of Whitehall and how it relates to the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish governments. It also recommended that the review should consider whether the roles of Secretaries of State were still "necessary".

Speaking after today's Scottish questions in the House of Commons, Ms Laird said: “In recent months, two select committees have taken the unprecedented step of calling for the Secretary of State’s role to be abolished due to his intransigence on issues that he is responsible for.

“He is supposed to represent Scotland at the Cabinet table and manage relations between the Scottish and UK Governments, but his handling of the devolution elements of Brexit was roundly condemned by one Committee and his handling of intergovernmental relations was condemned by the other.

“Labour doesn’t believe that the Secretary of State’s department should be abolished, we simply think that the Secretary of State himself should resign of his own volition as he is clearly not up to the job.

“Relations between the Scottish and UK Governments are at rock bottom, but we now know that Boris Johnson has plans for full fiscal autonomy for Scotland. That is economic madness. If he is allowed anywhere near Downing Street there is no doubt that he will be the biggest risk to the future of the Union in history.”

However a UK Government spokesperson said: “Lesley Laird is incorrect when she claims that two committees called for the Scotland Office to be abolished. The committees suggested a review of the role of Scotland Office and the Secretary of State. As Mr Mundell told MPs today, he would welcome any such review, and is confident it would recommend an enhanced role for the Scotland Office.

“At a time when the Scottish Government is preparing for a second independence referendum next year, the role of the Scotland Office and of the Secretary of State in strengthening Scotland’s place in the UK is more important than ever.”