David Cameron is “doing everything in his power” to make the Commons even less popular in Scotland than before last year’s independence referendum, according to the SNP Westminster leader, Angus Robertson.
In an interview with The Independent on Sunday, Mr Robertson claimed that Mr Cameron showed “little understanding of Scotland before the referendum and even less since”. The SNP is furious that Scotland is not getting the powers it believes it was promised, including substantial fiscal autonomy, in the Scotland Bill.
Mr Robertson claimed the SNP, which won 56 of 59 Scottish seats at the election, has replaced Labour as the true party of opposition. The SNP forced Mr Cameron, fearing defeat, to drop a vote that would have seen aspects of the fox-hunting ban repealed. “The Tories received 13 per cent of the vote [in Scotland], which means they are the worst-performing centre-right party in the industrialised world,” said Mr Robertson. “They fail to recognise their lack of democratic mandate.”
Criticising Labour’s split over whether to oppose the Welfare Reform and Work Bill, which is debated in the Commons tomorrow, Mr Robertson said: “I feel sorry [for the English], they have a bit of a Hobson’s choice given the similarities between the Tories, Lib Dems and Labour.”
His comments echoed the maiden speech of his colleague Mhairi Black, the 20-year-old student who became the youngest MP since the 17th century on winning Paisley & Renfrewshire South. Ms Black said that Labour had a “deep lack of understanding about Scotland”, but offered “a genuine hand of friendship” if the party worked with the SNP to defeat Tory Bills.
Mr Robertson also outlined his recently revealed plans for a charm offensive in England, particularly in the north, which he said is a valuable trading partner. He added: “I think that much of England has been left behind by metropolitan decision-making. A successful, competitive northern England is good for Scotland, just as a successful Scotland is good for our neighbours.
“If I had a pound for every time people suggest we should stand in England, I’d be well-off.”Reuse content