Liz Truss: Expert backs recovery plan for the economy
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The Prime Minister hopeful accused Scotland’s First Minister of being “preoccupied with playing political games and pushing for a second referendum” as she presented herself as a defender of Scotland’s place in the United Kingdom. The Tory leadership frontrunner’s comments are the latest escalation in a row with Ms Sturgeon after she branded the SNP leader an “attention seeker”.
As she attempted to appeal to voters north of the border, Ms Truss said she would work to “hold Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP to account”.
She told the Scottish Daily Express: “A second independence referendum is the wrong priority for Scotland. Nicola Sturgeon and her SNP Government should instead be focused on helping hard-working families in Scotland through the global cost of living crisis, improving frontline services and creating more jobs.
“For too long, the people of Scotland have been let down by Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP who are preoccupied with playing political games and pushing for a second referendum.
“As Prime Minister, I will prevent the division of our country, focus my attention on getting our economy back on track and deliver on the promises we made in 2019.
“As a nation, we are stronger when we work together and I will work closely with the Scottish Conservatives to hold Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP to account. Together, we will stand up for Scotland and ensure our greatest days lie ahead.”
The SNP, which heads Scotland’s semi-autonomous government, wants to hold a second independence referendum next year, which could rip apart the world’s fifth-biggest economy.
The bonds holding together the four countries that make up the UK – England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – have been severely strained over the last six years by Brexit and the government’s handling of the pandemic.
Ms Truss said she would use her experiences of growing up in Scottish town Paisley to ensure “all corners of the country” were “championed at the very top of Government”.
She added: “Having grown up in Paisley, I consider myself to be a child of the Union.
“The people of Scotland can rest assured that I will put the Union at the heart of everything I do and ensure that all corners of the country are rightly championed at the very top of the Government.
“I have a bold plan to make sure Scotland is a high-growth, high productivity economy through the power of free trade and enterprise.
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“I will provide immediate help with the cost of living by slashing taxes and creating new investment zones where they are needed to turbocharge growth and job creation.
“I will also empower businesses to thrive by selling more high-quality produce like Scotch whisky to major markets including Japan, Australia and the United States.
“And I will go further to unleash Scotland’s potential as a great exporting nation by breaking down barriers in India and elsewhere.”
Ms Truss’s campaign has said she would push for a trade deal with India if made prime minister, with the aim of slashing a longstanding 150 percent tariff on whisky exports.
She would change the Scotland Act to give parliamentary privilege to MSPs, in order to create more “robust questioning” of ministers and increase the powers of the Scottish Parliament to hold the Scottish Government to account.
Her comments come after Ms Truss sparked controversy by denouncing Ms Sturgeon as an “attention seeker” and suggested she would ignore her demands for a fresh referendum on independence.
Ms Truss told a hustings event with Conservative members in Exeter that “the best thing to do with Nicola Sturgeon is ignore her” as she fights to become Prime Minister.
Ruling out Ms Sturgeon’s plans for a second referendum, Ms Truss told the audience: “She’s an attention seeker, that’s what she is.
“What we need to do is show the people of Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales what we’re delivering for them and making sure that all of our government policies apply right across the United Kingdom.”
But Ms Sturgeon hit back, by brutally exposing how Ms Truss looked like she had “swallowed a wasp” after she told her she had appeared in fashion magazine Vogue twice.
Ms Sturgeon told how Ms Truss was keen to know how she got into Vogue when they briefly met during an event at the Cop26 summit in Glasgow last year.
Asked about Ms Truss’s remarks about her, Ms Sturgeon said she initially thought “it was made up, it was a spoof”.
She added: “She wanted to know how she could get into Vogue – and she calls me an attention-seeker.”
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