EU membership drove support for SNP but leaving is a boost for the union, Jacob Rees-Mogg claims
EU membership has driven support for the SNP but leaving is a boost for the union, Jacob Rees-Mogg has claimed.
The House of Commons leader has once again waded into the devolved administrations arguments over Brexit, and insisted it “actually strengthens the United Kingdom”.
Speaking to The House Magazine, the senior Tory MP suggested the rise in support for the SNP “correlates very strong” with the EU having more powers.
He said: “Support for the SNP has increased going all the way back to 1972.
“So as we became more deeply entrenched in the European Union, support for the SNP rose, because Europe had within the EU a number of countries of a similar population size, many of whom were in receipt of subsidies from the European Union – frankly a bit of a boondoggle, if that’s what you wanted.
“Whereas now what you see is the real value of the United Kingdom, the strength of the United Kingdom.
“You’ve seen particularly during the Covid pandemic, with the £8.2bn of UK taxpayers’ money available for Scotland, which wouldn’t have been there had Scotland been an independent nation within the EU.
“So I think the real strength of the Union has become increasingly apparent. And the supposed advantages of being in the EU just aren’t there”.
The North East Somerset MP suggested Brexit would see that support plummet, and insisted the UK was better together.
He explained: “Ireland is now a net contributor to the EU budget. You’ve got to have the euro.
“A new country entering would have to be a member of Schengen.
“So I think since we’ve left the European Union, since the vote for Brexit, actually the United Kingdom looks stronger, and the European Union a less attractive proposition.
“We can work together as the United Kingdom rather than having decisions coming from outside”.
The senior Tory also dismissed the soaring support for the SNP, suggesting polls were “not always accurate”.
He continued: “If they were accurate, I’m not sure we’d have a Conservative majority of 80 at the moment.
“So I think one has to be cautious about one’s interpretation of opinion polls.
“And the one poll they had in 2014 showed a comfortable majority for remaining in the United Kingdom, which the SNP at the time said was the decision for a generation.
“More people voted to leave the European Union in Scotland then voted for the SNP.”
His comments sparked a furious response from the SNP, who accused him of being out of touch.
Mhairi Black MP said: “Jacob-Rees Mogg’s comments show just how out-of-touch with reality and the people of Scotland he and the rest of the Tories really are.
“To say that Brexit weakens the case for Scottish independence is delusional – it has strengthened it.
“There are 15 consecutive polls that show the majority of people would vote Yes in an independence referendum.
“If the Leader of the House doesn’t want to acknowledge that then he is proving what we already know to be true – the Tories are democracy deniers and Scotland is an afterthought at best to them."
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