Nicola Sturgeon became difficult to deal with post-Brexit, claims David Mundell

Former first minister asks MPs to delay her appearance before Westminster committee

Former first minister Nicola Sturgeon became “much more difficult to deal with” after Brexit, former Scottish secretary David Mundell has said.

Mr Mundell – who served in the first Scottish Parliament for the South Scotland region – appeared before Westminster’s Scottish Affairs Committee on Monday as it took evidence on intergovernmental relations in the 25 years since devolution.

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The former cabinet minister – who served from 2015 to 2019 in the Scotland Office – said the Scottish Government were “unhelpful and disruptive” in the years following the vote to leave the EU.

Former first minister Nicola Sturgeon leaving her home last week. Photo by Peter Summers/Getty ImagesFormer first minister Nicola Sturgeon leaving her home last week. Photo by Peter Summers/Getty Images
Former first minister Nicola Sturgeon leaving her home last week. Photo by Peter Summers/Getty Images

A spokeswoman for the SNP said the Conservatives had “nobody to blame but themselves” for issues caused by leaving the EU.

“There is no doubt that over the period of time that Nicola Sturgeon was first minister of Scotland she became much more difficult to deal with,” Mr Mundell said.

While serving as a minister in the Scotland Office, Mr Mundell said he felt he worked “very effectively” with Ms Sturgeon, adding: “In the post-Brexit period, my impression is that Nicola Sturgeon became much more strident and difficult to deal with.

“She might well argue that was her standing up for Scotland or her agenda, but it became much, much more difficult.”

The former cabinet minister said there was a period of “obstruction” from the Scottish Government following the Brexit decision.

He went on to say there was a much greater sense of “Scottish exceptionalism” after the referendum.

“In the latter part of my tenure, the view coming from Edinburgh was ‘we’re just going to do everything ourselves because we can’,” he said.

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Scotland voted by 62 per cent to 38 per cent in the 2016 poll in favour of remaining in the trading bloc.

In the years following the vote, the Scottish Government repeatedly expressed frustration with the decision to leave the EU and the SNP made it a key plank of their 2017 and 2019 election campaigns.

Mr Mundell’s comments came as it was revealed at the committee that Ms Sturgeon had asked to delay her appearance, due to take place next Monday.

Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross told the committee the issue had been raised in a private session before the evidence from Mr Mundell and fellow Scotland Office alumnus Alistair Carmichael.

It comes after Ms Sturgeon’s husband and former SNP chief executive Peter Murrell was arrested and charged with embezzlement in relation to a police investigation into the party’s finances.

“The Tories have nobody to blame but themselves for their decision to ignore Scotland’s democratic vote to remain in the EU as they pursued a catastrophic Brexit that has caused unforgivable harm on people and industries,” a spokeswoman for the SNP said.



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