No-deal Brexit better than not leaving EU, says former Scottish Secretary

Former Scottish Secretary David Mundell has said he will not stand in the way of a no-deal Brexit.

The Conservative MP also said Scotland should not be denied a second independence referendum if a pro-independence majority is returned at the 2021 Scottish Parliament election on a manifesto of holding a further ballot.

Speaking at a Fringe by the Sea event in North Berwick, East Lothian, Mr Mundell stressed he believes leaving the EU with a deal is best but he wants Brexit to happen regardless.

Fringe by the Sea event
David Mundell in conversation with The Spectator’s Katy Balls (Laura Paterson/PA)

In an interview with The Spectator’s Katy Balls, he was askned if he would accept a no-deal Brexit if the EU refused to renegotiate.

He replied: “I think we have to have a Brexit rather than no Brexit. I’m clear that that is an important principle. It’s honouring the 2016 referendum.

“I would never myself vote against a Conservative Government in a vote of no-confidence.

“I think as a Conservative MP that is not something you can ever reasonably do.”

Mr Mundell predicted the next Scottish Parliament election would become an effective referendum on having a further vote on Scottish independence.

He said: “If the 2021 Scottish Parliament election is fought explicitly on the issue of another referendum and there is a majority of nationalist parties then you do have to listen to that.”

The Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale MP argued the 2016 Holyrood election was not fought on that basis as the independence referendum was a “subset” in the manifesto.

He said: “If the 2021 Scottish Parliament election is fought on an explicit independence referendum basis then it is harder to push back against the idea that there isn’t a mandate for it.”

Mr Mundell also addressed the shadow chancellor’s recent comments on Scottish independence.

“What I’m very disappointed about is obviously John McDonnell’s remarks yesterday that Labour would do a deal with the SNP because it’s clear Scottish Labour have been written off by London Labour,” he said.

“Scottish Labour are in freefall – it’s very unlikely they will have more than one at most MPs after the next General Election and it’s very clear that McDonnell and Corbyn would do a deal with the SNP and part of that deal would be having another independence referendum.”

Today's front page: Boris Johnson as PM and a catastrophic No Deal is ‘beyond insanity’https://t.co/IUaklbRSdcpic.twitter.com/jdFKB7LCcQ

— The Scottish Sun (@ScottishSun) July 24, 2019

In the wide-ranging interview, Mr Mundell also revealed when he was sacked as Scottish Secretary he handed Boris Johnson press clippings from north of the border of the reaction to him winning the Conservative leadership election and becoming Prime Minister.

Mr Mundell said: “I did give him some newspaper cuttings from Scotland about his taking over the job because the press reaction even from papers which in London were relatively favourable, was not (favourable in Scotland).”

He added: “I think its very important to understand the scale of the task, the challenging political environment in Scotland.

“I think when he saw himself mocked up as Buzz Lightyear in one of them he thought it was going to be favourable but when he read the headline he realised it wasn’t.”

The Scottish Sun had Mr Johnson pictured as the Toy Story character with the headline “to insanity and beyond”  the day after his election as Conservative leader.

Read Full Story

FROM OUR PARTNERS