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Jacob Rees-Mogg accused of weakening Scottish union after 'lightweight' TV insult

Rees-Mogg made disparaging remarks about Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross.

PastedImage-13985 Rees-Mogg was previously pictured lying down in the House of Commons. Source: Parliament.tv

DOWNING STREET HAS been forced to deny that Jacob Rees-Mogg has weakened the union after a bizarre row in which he accused the Scottish Conservative leader of being a “lightweight” in the party.

Douglas Ross, a member of parliament in both the House of Commons and the Scottish Parliament, yesterday called on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to resign amid claims a Downing Street drinks event Johnson attended broke lockdown rules

Ross is the leader of Johnson’s Conservative party in Scotland, the second largest party in the Scottish Parliament, and his public call for Johnson to resign was seen as a significant intervention.

BBC’s Newsnight subsequently reported that the remaining 30 Tory MSPs backed Ross’ call for Johnson to go but, speaking on the programme, Rees-Mogg dismissed the intervention by his party colleague from Scotland. 

Instead, he said the opinion of the Secretary of State for Scotland, who sits at Cabinet with Johnson, was of greater importance.  

“The Secretary of State for Scotland, who is a big figure, is very supportive of the Prime Minister, he’s made that very clear. Douglas Ross has always been quite a lightweight figure,” Rees-Mogg said. 

Asked today about his reaction to the insult, Ross himself said:  “Jacob Rees-Mogg, as anyone, is entitled to their opinions. I don’t have to agree with them.”

I disagree with Jacob Rees-Mogg on his characterisation of me, but he’s entitled to make it.

In a dig at Rees-Mogg, who was infamously photographed laid out horizontally on the House of Commons benches, Scottish Conservative MSP Jamie Greene told him to “have a long lie down”. 

Rees-Mogg’s comments were seized upon by Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon of the Scottish National Party, who is seeking another independence referendum.

Sturgeon told the Scottish Parliament in Holyrood that his words demonstrated the attitude of Westminster towards Scotland.  

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“These might be personal insults directed at the leader of the Scottish Conservatives, but, actually, they say something much deeper about the Westminster establishment’s utter contempt for Scotland,” she said. 

An added benefit of being independent is that we will no longer have to put up with being treated like something on the sole of Westminster’s shoe

In London, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman was forced to deny that his comments had weakened the union. 

Rees-Mogg himself defended his comments, saying in an interview: “‘If you take the King’s shilling you are beholden to the crown”. 

The entire affair continued when Rees-Mogg entered the House of Commons today and was unable to name the leader of the Welsh Conservatives when asked to do so..

Instead, he named Secretary of State for Wales Simon Hart rather than Welsh Conservative leader Andrew Davies.

About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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