Former Scottish Secretary refuses to say if he would block no-deal Brexit

25 July 2019, 10:38 | Updated: 25 July 2019, 10:40

David Mundell

Former Scottish secretary David Mundell has refused to say if he would vote down a no-deal Brexit if it comes before the House of Commons.

Mr Mundell, the longest-serving Scottish Tory MP, was sacked by new Prime Minister Boris Johnson for his failure to support the UK exiting the European Union with no agreement in place.

Mr Johnson has insisted the UK will quit the EU by the Halloween deadline, pledging to deliver on this "do or die".

Within hours of him entering Downing Street he had sacked a string of high-profile Cabinet members, including Mr Mundell, and replaced them with his own team.

Alister Jack, who was elected as the MP for Dumfries and Galloway in 2017, became the new Scottish Secretary.

Mr Mundell said despite his disagreements with the new PM over Brexit - and having previously said it would be "extremely difficult" for him to serve under Mr Johnson - that he would have been prepared to stay in government.

He told BBC Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland programme: "My view was Mr Johnson had been duly elected the leader, I was willing to serve because I think we are at a critical time, with the need to secure Brexit.

"I'm not going to apologise for being willing to compromise, being willing to work with other people even though I have reservations about them. I have never been a cheerleader for Mr Johnson, I think people know that.

"But yes I would have been willing to work with him to secure Scotland's place in the union and to deliver Brexit."

Mr Johnson told him "he wanted to mould a cabinet in his own shape," he said, adding that his successor would "have the Prime Minister's ear, his trust, his confidence".

However, having been ousted from the Scotland Office, where he had served for nine years first as a junior minister and then Scottish Secretary, Mr Mundell refused to say if he would vote to block a no-deal Brexit if the matter came before MPs in the House.

He said: "I am very clear I don't think no-deal is a good outcome but on the other hand I am very, very clear we have to leave the EU. We have to deliver on the electoral mandate from the referendum, if not I think we face a severe dislocation to our political system."

He described a no-deal Brexit as "a difficult outcome", but stated: "We have to get to each scenario as it comes along.

"One of the things that has happened in dealing with Brexit is people have made statements and declarations way ahead of the issues emerging. At this moment the focus is on trying to get a deal."

Mr Mundell continued: "I don't want to see a no-deal Brexit, I am very clear on that, but we have to understand the scenario in which that is put forward, where will we be in two or three months' time.

"I think we have been too guilty of setting out firm and fixed positions ahead of events unfolding and emerging."