Extra

Rishi Sunak says Nicola Sturgeon must not be ignored after Liz Truss calls First Minister an ‘attention seeker’ | Politics news

Written by Javed Iqbal

Rishi Sunak has said Nicola Sturgeon should be beaten rather than ignored, taking aim at Liz Truss who earlier this week called Scotland’s first minister an “attention seeker”.

Mr. Sunak said Mrs Sturgeon and her party the SNP “pose an existential threat to our beloved union”, adding: “To argue that we should ignore them is dangerously complacent.”

Politics Hub: Updates from the Tory leadership race

“We can’t just bury our heads in the sand and pretend they’re not there – we have to stop them in their tracks,” the former chancellor said.

“And that is exactly what I would do as Prime Minister – to hold the SNP to account for its mistakes and personally ensure that the UK Government has a laser focus on delivering for every part of our Britain.”

It comes a few days after the Tory leadership frontrunner Ms Truss suggested she would “ignore” Ms Sturgeon if she were to become the next leader of the Conservative Party.

Speaking of a Tory leadership in Exeterthat Minister of Foreign Affairs called Scotland’s first minister an “attention seeker” and replied “no, no, no” when asked about the prospect of another independence referendum if she were to become prime minister.

“I truly believe that we are a family and that we are better together,” she said.

“I think the best thing to do with Nicola Sturgeon is to ignore her. She’s an attention seeker, that’s what she is.”

Scotland's First Minister in Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, is interviewed on Tuesday 17 May 2022 in Washington.

But the SNP hit back at the “clumsy” comments, saying they would only increase support for independence.

The party’s deputy leader at Westminster, Kirsten Oswald, said: “The likely next Prime Minister has made it crystal clear that the partnership of equals Scotland promised in 2014 was a sham.

“Firing cheap shots to grab headlines is straight out of Trump’s playbook but reveals like never before the contempt Westminster has for the democratic choices made by the people of Scotland and the elected Scottish Government.”

On Friday night, Ms Sturgeon herself acknowledged the remark, tweeting a picture of a seal with the caption: “Saw this cute seal in beautiful Argyll. I think she/he might be a bit of an attention seeker.”

Some Tory MPs also criticized Mrs Truss‘ remarks, with former minister Liam Fox saying Sturgeon should be “treated with respect”.

Mr. Fox, which supports Mr. Sunak in the leadership contest, told Sky News: “When I hear politicians accusing other politicians of being attention-seekers, I tend to raise an eyebrow.

“When it comes to the First Minister in Scotland, they have a constitutional position, they have to be treated with respect.”

Both Mr Sunak and Ms Truss have been clear they would not give Ms Sturgeon another independence vote in Scotland if elected as Prime Minister and would instead seek to strengthen the union.

Follow the daily podcast onApple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify,Speaker

Meanwhile, Mr Sunak has also accused Ms Truss of “impersonation” as the Foreign Secretary is set to unveil her plan for leveling, which has been backed by regional Tory leaders.

The Secretary of State is expected to announce she will review the equalization formula to fix underinvestment in regional infrastructure if she becomes prime minister, and will ensure transport links are better integrated across buses, roads and rail.

Ms Truss will add that her administration would make the most of Britain’s “new Brexit freedoms” – including creating low tax, low regulation “investment zones” on brownfield sites.

Ahead of unveiling her levels proposals at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham on Saturday, Mrs Truss said: “My mission as Prime Minister will be to increase opportunity and realize ambition, no matter who you are or where you live.”

Please use the Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Sunak asked about diverting funds from poor areas

But Mr. Sunaks team accused Ms Truss of “copying and pasting policies introduced by Rishi” and “rehashing two-year-old government policies”.

“Imitation is the best form of flattery, as they say,” they said.

However, regional Tory leaders Andy Street, mayor of the West Midlands, and Jake Berry, chairman of the Northern Research Group, described Ms Truss’ leveling initiatives as a “bold vision”.

Mr Street said: “She has a bold vision for our regional economies, with the policies we need to make leveling a reality. Her Investment Zones plan, for example, will give us a powerful tool to unlock new investment, jobs and growth.”

About the author

Javed Iqbal

Leave a Comment