SNP MPs compare Alister Jack to Donald Trump over independence referendum stance

The Scotland Office has been compared to the Trump administration during a heated row about independence.

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack was compared to Donald Trump during the heated debate
Scottish Secretary Alister Jack was compared to Donald Trump during the heated debate

In today’s Scottish Questions in Westminster, SNP MP Pete Wishart suggested the refusal to allow another referendum was akin to the former President insisting he had not lost the election.

The Perth and North Perthshire MP criticised Scottish Secretary Alister Jack and his attempts to preserve the Union.

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He said: “He’s doing such a fantastic job in strengthening the Union that support for independence is at a historic high and there’s been a sustained majority all year.

“Saying no to a majority in Scotland is only going to drive support for independence even higher.

“The Scottish people are not finding this democracy denial funny any more, so what’s the difference between denying a majority and the Trump Whitehouse and denying a majority in the Scotland Office?”

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'It's no for a generation' that could last 40 years, says Alister Jack

Mr Jack laughed of the criticism, describing the link as “tenuous”.

He replied: “To be quite simple, my belief is that we stick to the referendum and respect it from 2014.

“It was very clear the SNP said at the time it was once-in-a-generation.

“I don’t believe we should go into a process of ‘neverendums’, which are divisive, unsettling, bad for jobs in Scotland.

“We should respect democracy and that’s what I’m doing, democracy that was handed out by the Scottish people in 2014.”

Today’s parliamentary session also saw the SNP’s Dr Philippa Whitford compare Scotland to a wife trapped in a marriage.

The Central Ayrshire MP said: “He seems to think the way to strengthen the Union is by forcing a hard Brexit on Scotland against our will, taking an axe to devolution with the Internal Market Bill and denying any democratic choice on Scotland’s future until adults like me are dead.

“On that basis, does he think the best recipe for a happy marriage is to lock up the wife, take away her chequebook and just keep refusing a divorce?”

Mr Jack, the MP for Dumfries and Galloway, again insisted the referendum was “once in a generation”.

He said: “A generation, by any calculation, is 25 years and frankly, you just have to accept that and focus on what matters, which is recovering from this pandemic and us all pulling together.”

The SNP’s Scotland spokeswoman Mhairi Black also pressed Mr Jack over the legal basis for refusing a referendum, earning a telling off from the speaker for not sticking to the subject matter.

She said: “Now of course the Edinburgh Agreement, signed by a Tory prime minister, provided the legal framework for the 2014 referendum.

”So I’m wondering, can he quote where it says in that agreement that there cannot be another referendum?”

Mr Jack questioned why during a pandemic “the SNP carry on talking about independence referendums and about separation”.

He said: “I find it really quite disappointing, but the answer to her question, it was mentioned many times in the White Paper that the SNP Government produced in advance of that referendum, once in a generation was mentioned on a number of pages.”

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