A rift has erupted at the heart of the UK coalition after remarks made by Scottish Secretary Michael Moore in which he admitted he was no longer a Unionist.
According to today’s Herald newspaper, the gaffe prone Lib Dem MP has been “cut adrift” after giving an interview in which he stated that the idea of Unionism was outdated.
Mr Moore, who is Secretary of State for Scotland revealed that he did not describe himself as a Unionist. The Lib Dem MP also attacked the current constitutional set up, saying that the “old-fashioned centuries-old version of the UK is horribly outdated”.
Mr Moore also strongly suggested that his party were not content with the powers on offer in the Scotland Bill and that he expected a commission headed by senior Lib Dem Menzies Campbell to recommend even more powers being devolved to Holyrood.
According to the Herald newspaper the PM has distanced himself from Mr Moore’s comments, the Herald quotes a Downing Street spokeswoman as saying that Mr Moore spoke in a “personal capacity”. Mr Cameron’s spokeswoman said the Prime Minister remained “passionate about Scotland remaining part of the union” .
It was also suggested by a senior Scottish Conservative that the Tory PM was not pleased with Mr Moore’s remarks. The remarks from both sides have been picked up by the SNP who claim they are evidence of a rift between the parties.
Responding to today’s reports, Glasgow SNP MSP Humza Yousaf said the coalition were all at sea and the Lib Dems mired in constitutional confusion.
Commenting Mr Yousaf said:
“As Michael Moore’s constitutional position crumbles into a mess of confusion of contradiction the coalition parties are turning on each other.
“They don’t know if they are coming or going when it comes to Scotland’s constitutional future. Like Labour they are at sixes and sevens on the constitutional future of Scotland.
“If Mr Cameron and Mr Moore can’t get along with each other then what chance have they of running a government that acts in the interests of Scotland?”
Claims this week by the UK coalition that they have increased the Scottish budget by £500 million were challenged by Finance Secretary John Swinney who explained that this was only 3 per cent of the cuts already imposed on the Scottish block grant.
Mr Yousaf added:
“Prime Minister David Cameron claims he is passionate about Scotland but the truth is he has cut the Scottish budget and the people of Scotland have rejected his party and his politics at election after election.
“And the Lib Dems’ only contribution to constitutional change is to obsess about the SNP and block every proposal put on the table, even the ones they claim to agree with.”