Snubbed by Cameron but Labour MP says he will still work with Tories

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By G.A.Ponsonby
 
A Labour MP who once claimed that the Conservative party “simply don’t care about Scotland” and has a “biased approach” to Scotland has been criticised after confirming he still intended to work with David Cameron’s party in order to prevent Scottish independence.
 
Labour MP Brian Donohoe announced his intention to work with the Tories two weeks ago when he asked PM David Cameron to meet with him at this weekend’s Tory conference in Troon.

Mr Cameron responded by inviting the Labour MP to share a platform with him on Friday, an invitation which was accepted by Mr Donohoe.

However, despite yesterday Mr Cameron snubbing Mr Donohoe’s meeting at the last minute, the Labour MP reaffirmed his commitment to working with the Tories.

Speaking yesterday on BBC Radio Scotland’s ‘Brian Taylor’s Big Debate’ Mr Donohoe said: “A meeting was arranged for today as it happens – a meeting between myself and the Prime Minister, but unfortunately he found himself otherwise engaged and as a consequence has gone off elsewhere in Scotland.

“But I would do that, and I would also argue with anyone and anybody that wants to argue on the opposite [side]. I will take a stage anywhere to argue the strengths of the Union.”

Brian Donohoe has repeatedly criticised the Tories for the damaging effect their policies have had on Scotland:

On 30 September 2008, in the Daily Record and The Scotsman Mr Donohoe, in response to the Tories high speed rail link plans that did not include Scotland, reportedly said:

“Clearly, in their eyes, Scotland doesn’t exist. What happened to the notion of one-nation Conservatism? Is that dead in the water now? Or have they simply written off Scotland since they wield so little power up here?”… “The Tories simply don’t care about Scotland,”

In July 2010 writing about the AV voting system on his own website he said:

“The Con-Dem coalition bleat on about doing this to ensure people’s votes carry the same weight, well nearly the whole of Scotland made it plainly clear at the General Election that they didn’t want a Tory Government and what did we get? Not only a Tory Government but a Tory-Lib Dem coalition government which plainly doesn’t care a jot about Scotland!”

On lottery funds distribution in July 2010, again on his own website, he wrote:

“I am quite disturbed at the proposals put forward by the Con-Dem coalition which will affect Lottery distribution.  It is yet another example of this Government’s biased approach towards Scotland”

SNP MSP Chic Brodie has urged Mr Donohoe to think again and said that the Labour leadership must be highly embarrassed that a prominent elected member is willing to work with a party which Donohoe himself admits are overwhelmingly rejected by Scotland.

Mr Brodie, MSP for South Scotland, said:

“It beggars belief that someone who has been so fiercely critical of Tory rule in Scotland would now wish to jump into bed with them on an anti-independence platform.

“Brian Donohoe was absolutely right in the past to highlight that Scotland made it plain at the election they didn’t want a Tory Government.

“Mr Donohoe must clarify whether he seriously intends to campaign for Tory rule from Westminster over Home Rule from Edinburgh. It seems he is willing to cut off his nose to spite his face. I would hope that the Labour leadership are highly embarrassed by this.

“Perhaps the ‘respect agenda’ which Mr Cameron is so keen on was summed up by Mr Donohoe’s admission that Cameron snubbed their arranged meeting at the last minute.”

At Prime Ministers Questions on Wednesday 7th March, Brian Donohoe said to Mr Cameron:

“I want to know whether you agree with me, the uncertainty created by the Nats [nationalists] around the separatist idea of a referendum, that is being delayed longer than it should be, is it not leading to uncertainty of inward investment? Will you come with me, while you’re in Troon, to see some of the potential of inward investment? It’s a promise you made to me a year ago.”

Mr Cameron replied: “I agree with every word you said. I make you this offer, as I’m going to be in Troon, if you can make that short trip from your constituency and we can share a platform together and point out the dangers of separatism.”

Accepting the offer on March 7th Mr Donohoe said: “This is too important an issue for partisan politics to get in the way and I am writing to the Prime Minister to accept his invitation and to make the case for the Union.”

A recent Cardiff Business School study found that, contrary to the damage that Mr Donohoe alleges, Scotland is actually ahead of every other region of the UK outside London for inward investment

The study showed that Scotland attracted an average of nine per cent of new UK inward investment projects between 2005-10 – far above the 6.8% of North West England ranked in second position.