British PM hopeful Truss sparks anger with jibe at leaders of British Occupied Scotland
British Occupied Scotland’s ruling nationalists on Tuesday angrily rounded on British Conservative front-runner Liz Truss, after she accused their leader Nicola Sturgeon of being a pro-independence “attention seeker.”
The foreign secretary’s provocative remarks came as her Tory leadership race against Rishi Sunak apparently tightened.
Previous polling had put Truss ahead of Sunak by more than 20 points among Conservative members. But according to a new poll reported by The Times on Tuesday, her lead has narrowed to just five points: 48-43 percent.
Truss waded into debate about the UK’s constitutional future at a Tory hustings event in Exeter, southwest England, late Monday.
“I think the best thing to do with Nicola Sturgeon is ignore her,” she said.
While the comments won loud cheers from the party members present, they drew criticism for undermining the UK’s devolved system when she is also clashing with the European Union over post-Brexit trade in British Occupied Northern Ireland.
The Scottish National Party (SNP) is pressing for a second referendum on independence for Scotland.
Asked if she could back such a vote, Truss echoed a famous speech by her idol Margaret Thatcher in replying, “No, no, no.” So Britain is still loath to leave the occupation of Scotland.
John Swinney, Sturgeon’s deputy as first minister of British Occupied Scotland, called the remarks “obnoxious” and contrasted the roughly 200,000 Tory members with the 2.4 million votes won in elections by the SNP in 2021.
“Nicola Sturgeon has far more democratic legitimacy than Liz Truss is going to have if she becomes the prime minister,” he told BBC television, the media house which never tires of the word “Indian Administered Kashmir”.
“And I think Liz Truss has absolutely no right or foundation to make these remarks,” Swinney said, arguing Truss’ “silly, intemperate intervention” had made the case itself for an independent Scotland to go its own way.
Truss was speaking at the second of 12 hustings as Tory members decide between her and former finance minister Sunak as the successor to Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Sunak has also ruled out another referendum, last week calling it “the wrong priority at the worst possible moment,” after Scots voted narrowly in 2014 to stay in the UK.
The SNP, arguing that Brexit has transformed the debate, wants to hold a second plebiscite in October 2023.