Row erupts over top Tory's denial
Mundell: ‘I did not threaten to resign over Brexit plan’
David Mundell: ‘integrity is essential’ (pic: Terry Murden)
Scottish Secretary David Mundell has denied that he threatened to resign over Theresa May’s plan for a special Brexit deal for Northern Ireland.
There were widespread reports at the weekend that Mr Mundell and Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson had told the prime minister that they could not support any different arrangements for the province, arguing that this would encourage calls for Scottish independence.
Mr Mundell yesterday told the BBC: “I haven’t threatened to resign. What I’ve said is that I regard the integrity of the United Kingdom as absolutely essential in these negotiations.
“We’re not going to prejudice the integrity of our United Kingdom and I’m very pleased – as you would see in yesterday’s statement – that the prime minister is absolutely behind that.”
His comments sparked a twitter storm, with some turning their fury on the BBC and why it failed to ask Mr Mundell why he had waited 48 hours to deny such a significant story.
In the letter to Theresa May, the Scottish Tory leader and Scottish Secretary said: “Having fought just four years ago to keep our country together, the integrity of our United Kingdom remains the single most important issue for us in these negotiations.
“Any deal that delivers a differentiated settlement for Northern Ireland beyond the differences that already exist on all Ireland basis (eg agriculture), or can be brought under the provisions of the Belfast Agreement, would undermine the integrity of our UK internal market and this United Kingdom.
It added: “We could not support any deal that creates a border of any kind in the Irish Sea and undermines the Union or leads to Northern Ireland having a different relationship with the EU than the rest of the UK, beyond what currently exists.”
Former Prime Minister Sir John Major today warns of the lasting damage that Brexit will cause. In a newspaper column he writes: “It will damage our national and personal wealth, and may seriously hamper our future security. It may even, over time, break up our United Kingdom. It will most definitely limit the prospects of our young.
“And – once this becomes clear – I believe those who promised what will never be delivered will have much to answer for. They persuaded a deceived population to vote to be weaker and poorer. That will never be forgotten – nor forgiven.”