Rishi Sunak denies July 4 election is disrespectful to Scots

Prime Minister rejects claims by John Swinney that holding the election during Scotland's school holidays shows contempt for the country.

Rishi Sunak has rejected claims by John Swinney that his decision to call an election on July 4 is disrespectful to Scots.

Speaking to STV News during a visit to the village of Nigg in Easter Ross a day after he announced the date, the Prime Minister said now was the right time for a ballot.

Most schools in Scotland will have already started their summer holidays by the time of the election, meaning thousands of parents could be abroad.

Asked by STV News whether the Scottish school summer holidays factored into his decision to call a July election, Sunak said: “No, I think this is the right time for us as a country to have this conversation.”

The Conservative leader said the world was an “uncertain place”, adding that it was “right we take the steps necessary to protect ourselves”.

He said the election was about delivering “a secure future for everyone in the country”.

Rishi Sunak spoke to STV News while on a visit to the village of Nigg in Easter Ross.

Asked if he cared about the clash, he said: “We have lots of different ways people can vote in this country”.

He continued: “I think this is the right moment for our country to have this conversion about the future. There is a lot at stake.”

He denied the date was disrespectful towards Scotland, saying: “My track record shows that I’m delivering for people in Scotland.

“We’ve invested £3bn in dozens of communities across Scotland, levelling up high streets, towns centres, whether that’s in Moray or Dumfries.

“We’ve developed two free ports, which obviously we are at today, which are attracting jobs and investment.

“We are backing unequivocally Scotland’s north sea energy industry, oil and gas, because that’s going to give us energy security and support jobs and propsperity.

“And I’m doing my all my best to cut taxes for people in Scotland at the same time the SNP government is raising them.”

Asked again if the date was disrespectful to Scots, he said: “I don’t think that’s right at all actually.”

Scottish First Minister John Swinney criticised the timing of the UK general election, which coincides with most school holidays north of the border.Getty Images

And questioned if he would have called an election during the English school holidays, he said that he was “not particularly interested in talking about hypotheticals”.

Scotland’s First Minister has criticised Sunak’s election timing, accusing Downing Street of “contempt” for the Scottish people.

But Swinney said he nevertheless “relished” the opportunity to campaign for “hope and unity” in the vote.

“Most of you want to see the back of this disastrous Tory government,” he said.

“Never has a Government deserved to lose more than Rishi Sunak’s.”

Scots, he said, want “higher living standards”, a country where people can “lead secure, happy, healthy lives”, as well as a “National Health Service you can rely on”, and they think Brexit was a “terrible mistake”.

He said that while Labour and the Tories would attack each other, the SNP would “put Scotland first”.

“For those who are already persuaded, I can’t stress enough how important it is to vote SNP on July 4,” he said.

“We will win our country’s independence and win the powers to bring about a better Scotland through democratic pressure.

“On July 4 – Independence Day – make sure your voice is heard.”

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