'It is a telling insight into the arrogant and dismissive attitude that the Tory government has towards Scotland as a whole.'
In their time of crisis, in which Boris Johnson endured his worst day as prime minister, who did the Tories choose to send out to bat for them? Jacob Rees-Mogg. If you thought things couldn’t get any worse, Rees-Mogg’s attempt to defend Boris Johnson made matters a lot worse, turning a crisis within the Conservative party into a crisis of unionism.
Appearing on Newsnight, Rees-Mogg branded the Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross “a lightweight” after he told Boris Johnson to resign. Ross’ comments came after Johnson apologised and admitted that he had attended a Downing Street garden party during the country’s first national lockdown which breached Covid regulations.
In response Rees-Mogg told Newsnight: “Douglas Ross has always been quite a lightweight figure.” In an earlier appearance on LBC, Rees-Mogg said he did not think the Scottish Conservative leader was a ‘big figure’.
The comments will undoubtedly be a gift to the SNP, who will use them as yet another example of Westminster politicians looking down their noses Scotland.
Gavin Barwell, former chief of staff to Theresa May, tweeted Appreciate@Jacob_Rees_Mogg will have been upset about @Douglas4Moray comments, but big mistake to attack Leader of Scottish Conservatives in this way. Only helps the SNP. Out of character too.”
The SNP seized on the comments as ‘making the case for independence’. Commenting, SNP Westminster Deputy Leader Kirsten Oswald MP said: “By dismissing their Scottish branch office as a bunch of ‘lightweights’ and nobodies, the Tories are revealing their disdain for Scotland and making the case for independence.
“Not only is it deeply humiliating for Douglas Ross but it is a telling insight into the arrogant and dismissive attitude that the Tory government has towards Scotland as a whole.”
Basit Mahmood is editor of Left Foot Forward