Penny Mordaunt: SNP independence approach based on ‘real bile and hatred’
The SNP’s approach to independence fails because it is based on “real bile and hatred”, Tory MP Penny Mordaunt has told a Fringe audience.
The leader of the House of Commons said the SNP was reducing a “fierce and powerful nation” to a narrative of victimhood by their independence campaigning.
She also hinted she still has her eye on becoming defence secretary, and says there is an outside chance the Conservatives could win the next general election.
Ms Mordaunt was in conversation with LBC’s Iain Dale at the Edinburgh Fringe, where she discussed her life in politics, as well as her thoughts on Scottish independence and the upcoming cabinet reshuffle.
She said she has never been complacent about independence, but she believes the SNP is not setting out a “positive vision”.
Ms Mordaunt said: “There are all sorts of arguments you could make with independence - none of which would carry any weight with me - but the approach they are taking is done with real bile and hatred.
“That’s often the sentiment that comes across from the SNP and I don’t think that will deliver an independent Scotland.”
She added: “The default of the SNP is to play victims.
“They want to reduce what is a fierce and powerful nation to a narrative about victimhood, and that winds me up when they do that about Scotland.”
When asked if it is difficult to prepare for questioning in the House of Commons, she said: “It is really hard to prepare witty answers, until you are facing the SNP because they only talk about what thing.
“So they are easy to go up against and I enjoy that - there is so much material.”
She was also quizzed on her party’s dwindling hopes for the next general election. The latest polling puts the Conservatives 20 percentage points behind Labour.
However Ms Mordaunt said: “I think it’s possible to win the election and with a majority we can do something with.
“I don’t think the deal has been sealed with Labour yet, for all sorts of reasons. People are not sure what they think of Keir Starmer and what he stands for, so anything is possible.”
She also hinted she would like to be made defence secretary when Ben Wallace steps down at the next cabinet reshuffle.
Ms Mordaunt, who is a Royal Navy reservist, was defence secretary for 86 days under Theresa May, but was fired when Boris Johnson became prime minister.
She said: “I loved being defence secretary and I love working with the armed forces. I always loved defence, but it is pointless worrying about these things.
“You make what opportunities you are given.”
She added: “It is no secret I would have liked to have been prime minister, that’s why I threw my hat in the ring, but genuinely I’m not thinking about that.”
In response SNP MP Deirdre Brock said: “With independence, Scotland can regain its place at the heart of Europe, maximise our potential as a renewable energy powerhouse, and build a wealthier, healthier and fairer society.
“I contrast, the Tories and pro-Brexit Labour Party are lurching to the right, isolating the UK with Brexit, and imposing a cost-of-living crisis on millions of families.”
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