Mike Russell apologises over "alien" barb about Jacob Rees-Mogg

Tory Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg
Tory Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg
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Scotland's Brexit Secretary Mike Russell has apologised to MSPs after comparing leading Tory Leave campaigner Jacob Rees-Mogg with an "alien invasion."

Mr Russell insisted the remark was only meant as a joke as he appeared before Holyrood's constitution committee today where he was giving evidence on the implications of the Brexit deal for Scotland.

The SNP minister was addressing the prospect of a "No Deal" Brexit scenario and was told by Tory MSP Murdo Fraser that the Prime Minister's deal would be a better option.

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But Mr Russell said: "When it comes to a choice between this and alien invasion, then this is better.

"The reality of this situation is that both are very bad."

Mr Fraser suggested a no deal scenario was "less likely than alien invasion."

But Mr Russell hit back: "Oh, I don't know - have you seen Jacob Rees-Mogg?"

The remark prompted calls from the Tory MSP to "elevate the discussion" before another Tory Adam Tomkins, later said Holyrood Presiding Officer Ken Macintosh had called for respect to be shown to Parliamentarians across the UK.

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Mr Tomkins added: "I have my quarrels with Jacob Rees-Mogg, but to describe him in the context of alien invasion is a remark, and I know it was a rush of blood to the head cabinet secretary, but frankly it was beneath you. Would you like to withdraw it?"

The SNP minister insisted that the blood "did not rush to my head."

But he added; "If my joke misfired in any sense, then of course I'm sorry about that."