Outgoing Scottish Tory leader Annabelle Goldie has launched a withering attack on Labour MP Jim Murphy accusing him of ‘putting himself before the country’ and using the independence debate in order to indulge in “grandstanding”.
Speaking at the Tory party conference in Manchester Ms Goldie was responding to Jim Murphy’s insistence that he would not share a platform with David Cameron in the independence referendum campaign.
Ms Goldie accused the Labour MP of indulging in “personal grandstanding” and demanded that he either stop or leave the referendum campaigning to others.
Ms Goldie said:
“I say to him, shame upon you. How petty are you to think that your personal grandstanding is more important than fighting for your country’s future?
“If that’s the way you feel Mr Murphy then butt out and leave the fight to those of us who really care and will lead the passion and fight that fight.”
The attack on Jim Murphy followed a similar personal attack on SNP leader Alex Salmond. Ms Goldie described Mr Salmond as “portly” and a “great pretender” who used devolved government in order to pursue the goal of independence.
She claimed that every issue was distorted by the Scottish government who deliberately sought to stoke up resentment, she added:
“For the SNP every issue, no matter how important, is manipulated and distorted into a constitutional row. Every decision, no matter how pressing, how demanding of prudence and pragmatism is sacrificed at the altar of populism and every speech is heavily laced with an odious cocktail of grudge gripe and grievance and every opportunity is seized to stoke up English, Welsh or Northern Irish resentment and to generate envy.”
Describing Mr Salmond’s language as “belligerent and provocative” she claimed that the First Minister did not represent Scotland. The outgoing Tory leader insisted that the Scottish government should not involve itself in reserved matters and that Scotland has two governments.
The Tory leader claimed that an independent Scotland would put the rest of the UK at risk and challenged the SNP to call the independence referendum quickly so that Scotland could move on. “Being British is a state of mind” said Ms Goldie, who added “that’s the way it is”.
Commenting on the claims that Scottish Independence will put the rest of the UK ‘at risk’, SNP Westminster Group Leader, Angus Robertson countered saying that it was Tory policies were putting Scotland at risk.
Mr Robertson said:
“Annabel Goldie talks about sharing responsibilities and risks, however under the UK Conservative led Government Scotland is at risk. Our public finances are at risk by spending cuts being imposed too far and too fast.
“Scotland’s future finances are at risk from ill-thought out Scotland Bill taxation proposals. Our public sector workers are at risk from a cash grab on their pensions by Tory Chancellor George Osborne and our maritime safety is at risk by Tory cuts to our coastguard services.
“That’s not just my view, it’s clear from the May election result that it’s the view of the Scottish people, indeed the Tory party’s own polling recently revealed that only 6% of Scots believe that the Tories put Scotland first. I trust Annabel Goldie will be lobbying her Tory colleagues on these matters when she is at the Tory conference.”