Penny Mordaunt has claimed young Scots will have “somewhere safe and warm to take heroin” as a result of the SNP’s “appalling legacy”.
The Commons leader took aim at the SNP’s record, including its support for a drug consumption facility, after saying the party is on her list of those she is “standing up and fighting against”.
Her criticism came in response to SNP Commons leader Deidre Brock, who mocked Mordaunt’s Conservative Party conference speech in which she repeatedly urged people to “stand up and fight” against things.
Brock said chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s autumn statement had shown the UK Government “wants a fight” with people unable to work because of ill health, given his promised welfare reforms to ensure people signed off sick look for work.
Brock also said the UK Government should hold an inquiry into itself and the “many billions it has squandered over the last four years”.
The UK’s first drug consumption room could be open by next summer, with a facility planed in Glasgow already approved by NHS and council officials.
The project took a step forward after Scotland’s Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain KC announced it would not be in the “public interest” to prosecute users of such a facility.
The UK Government has said it is not in favour of drug consumption rooms, but said it has no plans to interfere.
Speaking in response to Brock’s criticism of the Conservatives, Mordaunt told the Commons: “I’m not in any doubt who I’m standing up and fighting for – the people of this country – and who I’m standing up and fighting against, and the SNP are on that latter list.
“I’m standing up and fighting against them because first of all what she says is not the case, she has spoken about the welfare measures that were announced yesterday.
“The closing claims measures, she knows, doesn’t apply in Scotland but also does not apply to anyone with disabilities or a child.”
Mordaunt encouraged Brock to be a “little more self-reflective”, before saying: “Which party is it whose leader smirked whilst people booed the national anthem? Whose party is it whose activists called BBC reporters ‘traitors’?
“Whose party is it that bullied Conservative Party members attending a conference in Scotland to the extent that it made national news?
“Whose party is it whose behaviour was so horrific towards its own elected representatives that they said they suffered panic attacks and some of them have crossed the floor?
“And who is it that is responsible for the bile-fuelled rants that are so evident in Hansard?
“Once (Brock) has clocked that all these things are her party, she might reflect on why that is the case and the appalling legacy that such a warped, irresponsible displacement activity has ceded to a generation of Scottish children.
“A wrecked education system, a widening attainment gap, fewer teachers, maths scores declining in every Pisa survey, science at a low record and plummeting literacy rates.
“But they will have, of course, somewhere safe and warm to take heroin.
“I’m not going to take any lectures from (Brock) about values, responsibility or performance in office.”
SNP MPs heckled Mordaunt throughout her comments.
Brock had earlier said: “We know in Scotland she likes having a fight with us – she’s always telling us off for disobedience or treachery. In Tory Britain we Scots should know our place.
“But the Chancellor helpfully revealed who else her Government wants a fight with. If you’re unable to work because of ill health, get ready for battle with the Tories.
“If you’re amongst the four million families destitute in the UK, forget it, no real help for you in your daily struggle to survive.
“And it’s clear from the Covid inquiry if you’re a scientist or, God forbid, an actual expert, gird your loins.
“In England, Tories fight NHS workers, they fight teachers, they fight local councils, they fight the low paid. If you’re on pensions or benefits, sure they threw you a few crumbs yesterday from the table but the ONS (Office for National Statistics) says food prices are 30% higher than they were two years ago so they will fight you at the checkout tills.
“Not a word about fighting billionaires’ tax evasion, or fighting dirty money being laundered through London, or fighting corruption and fraud drenching this Government in sleaze.”
Brock pressed the case for an independent Scotland to be free of the “bedlam” of Westminster, before asking: “Isn’t it time her profligate Government stopped fighting everybody, held an inquiry into itself and the many billions it has squandered over the last four years?”
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