Truss on FM:
‘Attention seeking Sturgeon best ignored’
Tory party leadership candidate Liz Truss last night described Nicola Sturgeon as an “attention seeker” and said the best tactic was to ignore her.
Addressing a hustings event, the race leader and Foreign Secretary ruled out a second independence referendum if she became Prime Minister.
Ms Truss described herself as “a child of the Union”, having spent some of her early life in Paisley and in Leeds.
“I really believe we’re a family and we’re better together,” she told Conservative party members in Exeter.
To cheers and applause, she said: “I think the best thing to do with Nicola Sturgeon is ignore her.
“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.”
She replied “no, no, no” when asked about another independence referendum in Scotland should she become prime minister.
Scotland’s deputy first minister John Swinney described her comments as “completely and utterly unacceptable”.
He said: “People in Scotland, whatever their politics, will be absolutely horrified by the obnoxious remarks that Liz Truss has made tonight.
“I think Liz Truss has with one silly, intemperate intervention fundamentally undermined the argument that she tries to put forward that Scotland somehow can be fairly and well treated at the heart of the United Kingdom.”
Ms Truss’s lead over former Chancellor Rishi Sunak to become the next Conservative Party leader has narrowed to just five percentage points, according to the latest polling.
She picked up support from former leadership rival Penny Mordaunt who joined Defence Secretary Ben Wallace and Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi in endorsing her candidacy.
A majority of senior Scottish Conservative frontbenchers including Murdo Fraser, Rachael Hamilton, Liam Kerr, Stephen Kerr, Oliver Mundell and Graham Simpson have backed Ms Truss to be the next prime minister in a further sign that her campaign is gathering momentum.
Mr Sunak has secured backing from former cabinet ministers Liam Fox and Damian Green and the support of Scottish MPs Andrew Bowie and John Lamont, as well as MSPs including Jackson Carlaw, Donald Cameron and Miles Briggs. Baroness Davidson of Lundin Links has also backed Mr Sunak.
During the event, Mr Sunak once again attacked Ms Truss’s tax plans and promised he would cut taxes responsibly.
He outlined his plan to cut the basic rate of income tax from 20% to 16% by the end of the next parliament.
But he added: “We are going to do that responsibly. We are not going to ask our kids to pay for it. We are going to do it by being tough on public spending, reforming public services, and by growing the economy.”