Mundell: I will defend UK until my last breath

17 October 2018, 15:17

Conservative conference

Scottish Secretary David Mundell has vowed to defend Scotland's place in the UK "until my last breath".

Mr Mundell has told the Prime Minister he would be prepared to step down if a Brexit deal creates a political division down the Irish Sea.

He reiterated the strength of his feeling under questioning from SNP MP Patrick Grady during Scottish Questions in the Commons, when he was accused of "presiding over a power grab" during Scottish Questions in the Commons.

Mr Grady (Glasgow North) said: "Scottish Tories... have never wanted the Scottish Parliament to succeed and are using Brexit to undermine it."

The Scottish Secretary responded: "He and his colleagues want to break up the United Kingdom.

"I will defend our United Kingdom until my last breath."

Mr Mundell was unapologetic about his ultimatum over a Brexit that in any way separates the UK.

"I make no apology for making absolutely clear that the integrity of the UK is a red line for me and my Scottish Conservative colleagues in any deal on leaving the EU," he said. "The position is exactly the same for our Prime Minister.

"I know those on the SNP benches' preference would be a Brexit of the most disruptive kind, which they say is best able to take forward their cause."

Shadow Scottish secretary Lesley Laird said Mr Mundell was "flip-flopping over his threat to resign".

She said: "The Secretary of State claims that protecting the integrity of the UK is the most important thing to him.

"The invisible man in the Cabinet even got a few headlines for himself this week by flip-flopping over his threat to resign.

"Sources close to him claimed he would resign but he denied it himself yesterday so let's be clear: Yes or no?

"If there is a deal that creates a border in the Irish Sea and undermines the union, will the Secretary of State resign?"

Mr Mundell replied: "On the issue of a border down the Irish Sea it is not acceptable to me or my Scottish Conservative colleagues."

Ms Laird claimed the UK Government had "just run out of ideas when it comes to Brexit" as she urged Mr Mundell to "support Labour's suggestion for a customs union".

She said: "If he really wants to protect Scotland's place in the UK and stop a border in the Irish Sea he should back Labour's plan for a customs union, so will he?"

Mr Mundell replied: "What I'm absolutely clear on is whatever kind of Brexit might be achieved the worst possible alternative would be a Labour government for this country."