Tory leadership Thatcher pledges 'will set alarm bells ringing'

Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak are the two remaining candidates in the Conservative leadership contest.

Conservative leadership Margaret Thatcher pledges ‘will set alarm bells ringing’, warns SNP’s Ian Blackford FlickrFlickr

Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss are trying to “out-Thatcher” Margaret Thatcher, it has been claimed.

It comes after Sunak pledged to “govern as a ‘Thatcherite‘” if he is elected as prime minister.

His leadership rival, Liz Truss, has previously been compared to Thatcher, with similarities drawn between the two.

Thatcher, who was prime minister between 1979 and 1990, is still highly regarded by many Conservatives, but remains a figure of contention in Scotland.

Unemployment during her tenure rocketed, while she clashed with the ministers and introduced the poll tax north of the border.

The SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford said that the country still “bears the scars” of the former Tory leader’s policies.

And he criticised Sunak and Truss in seeking to model themselves on the late-Thatcher, who died in 2013.

“The continuity candidates will both be a disaster for Scotland – with yet another Tory prime minister, elected only by Tory members, forced upon Scotland against our will,” said Blackford.

“While households struggle to make ends meet as the Tory-made cost of living crisis spirals out of control, Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss are more focused on trying to out-Thatcher Thatcher. 

“Scotland still bears the scars of Thatcher’s damaging policies – which hammered Scotland and increased inequality in the UK to levels that have never been reversed.”

Blackford described the Conservative leadership race as “toxic”, with party members now set to case their votes over the summer period.

“The former chancellor’s remarks that he will govern just like Thatcher might get right-wing Tory backbenchers excited, but it will send alarm bells ringing across Scotland. People don’t forget that Scotland was also used as a guinea pig for the Poll Tax,” he continued.

“As the toxic Tory leadership race lurches even further to the right, the widening democratic deficit threatening Scotland could not be clearer.

The SNP Westminster leader reiterated his party’s case for Scotland to become an independent country in the face of potential cuts.

Blackford added: “Whoever wins this leadership contest, Scotland will lose.

“Tory tax cuts for the rich, another round of devastating Tory austerity, an extreme Brexit that will hammer our economy and businesses, and damaging policies that will continue to push people into poverty and hardship.

“The only way to keep Scotland safe from the damage of Tory cuts is to become an independent country, with the full powers needed to build a fairer and more equal future.”

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