MPs have heard that “the likes of Mel Gibson” are driving calls for Scottish independence.
The Hollywood actor starred in and directed the 1995 historical film epic Braveheart, which told the narrative of William Wallace, a leader in the late mediaeval Scottish independence war.
Conservative MP Giles Watling (Clacton) believed Gibson was among those contributing to the Union’s demise, adding that another referendum should not be held before 2039.
“Does he agree it would be foolish to let this great and successful Union fall apart on a whim, with the aid of the likes of Mel Gibson et cetera?Giles Watling MP”
The Supreme Court is currently considering whether the Scottish Parliament can legislate for a second referendum.
However, Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has stated that if the Supreme Court finds against the Scottish Government over the proposed referendum next October, she will treat the next general election as a “de facto” referendum.
The UK government has repeatedly claimed that the 2014 independence referendum was a “once in a generation” event.
Mr Watling stated during Cabinet Office questioning that he has been “lucky enough to work in all four corners of our magnificent Union.”
Mr Watling, well known for his role in the sitcom Bread, told the Commons: “We have fought shoulder to shoulder for freedom and democracy all around the world, not least at Waterloo and the Normandy landing beaches.”
“Does he believe that it would be irresponsible to let this great and prosperous Union come apart on a whim, with the help of Mel Gibson and others?”
“Shouldn’t there be a legislative timeframe, say, of 25 years before another referendum?”
“People throughout Scotland want both of their governments to be working together and focussing their attention and resources on the problems that matter to them, not talking about yet another independence referendum,” Cabinet Office minister Brendan Clarke-Smith responded.
According to the SNP, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak must “honour the mandate” that the Scottish people gave him last year.
The duty for the Union has become a “hot potato and something (to) be handed from department to department,” according to SNP Cabinet Office spokesman Brendan O’Hara.
“My proposal to the incoming Secretary of State would be that he utilise this new role to push the Prime Minister to honour the mandate that the Scottish people granted last year when they elected the pro-independence majority administration with a commitment to hold a referendum,” he continued.
“Would he agree, as my honourable friend has stated, that a Prime Minister who was rejected by his own party members but was afterwards put into power, unelected by the members behind him, to then disregard the wishes of the Scottish people in a free and fair election is an absolute disgrace?”
“There is still the mandate in Scotland from the independence referendum,” Mr Clarke-Smith responded. And we will continue to support it and prioritise the Scottish people before politics and navel-gazing at this time.”
Labour also said that the government is treating the Union as if it were a “departmental tennis ball.”
The Union, according to Shadow Cabinet Office Minister Fleur Anderson, “has gone to the Department for Levelling Up, it’s come back to the Cabinet Office, it’s gone back to the Department for Levelling Up, and now we understand it’s probably staying there.”
“Does that really say priority for the Union?” she continued. The previous prime minister did not call the First Ministers of Scotland and Wales throughout her tenure, which says a lot.
“Would the minister kindly explain to the people of Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland why this Tory government regards our Union as if it were a departmental tennis ball?”
Mr Clarke-Smith stated that Mr Sunak called the heads of the devolved governments in Scotland and Wales “on his very first night in office,” adding, “In terms of departmental work, of course, the Cabinet Office is very vital that we deal with constitutional parts of that.”
Penny Mordaunt later questioned the SNP’s desire for independence, asking SNP Commons leader Deidre Brock how an independent Scotland would join the EU given that it would have to accept the euro.
“If the new PM can claim yesterday a mandate to govern based on the Tory 2019 manifesto, why won’t he recognise the even clearer mandate for an independence referendum as laid out in multiple SNP manifestos and voted for by a clear majority of Scottish voters as legitimate?” Ms Brock said in response to business questions.
Ms Mordaunt stated that the Government does not recognise the mandate for a second Scottish independence referendum “because, as I say every week, we have had one.”
“But I know this is what I say to the honourable lady every week, so let me offer her another explanation,” she continued.
“Because we learned today that for there to be an independent Scotland in Europe, Scotland would have to join the euro and if she can tell us how she intends to do that, then I’ll be happy to take her question again.”