Scottish independence: Both Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss will refuse the democratic right to hold a referendum – Angus Robertson MSP

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The gloves are well and truly off in the Tory leadership contest. In the battle between who is more of a Thatcherite Liz Truss and Rishi Sunk are tearing lumps out of each other, while their supporters are trashing their reputations.

One Tory MP has reportedly described the contest as: “What a mess. Getting rid of Boris for a fresh start and we’ve ended up with Batshit and the Billionaire.” A senior Rishi supporter is quoted as saying: “Liz Truss as Prime Minister of a G7 nation. Are you f***ing kidding me?”

Meanwhile, Truss fan Nadine Dorries has taken to Twitter to attack Sunak for wearing expensive designer clothes while her favoured candidate supposedly prefers affordable earrings.

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You couldn’t make it up. This, after all, is the Liz Truss who spent more than £0.5 million on private jets to Australia and £1400 for lunch at a London club owned by a Tory donor.

Now that Tory MPs have whittled down the candidates to become next leader, the choice is with Conservative party membership and they overwhelmingly back Liz Truss. A poll of card-carrying Tories for YouGov puts her on 62 per cent compared to 38 per cent for Rishi Sunak amongst those with a preference. With voting papers being issued within a fortnight, the opportunity for Sunak to claw back his deficit is extremely limited.

In the meantime Liz Truss has taken to dressing and sounding like Margaret Thatcher, with appeals for immediate tax cuts totalling £30 billion, an increase in defence spending and clearly a magic money tree as well. It should be clear to any rational person that this is unfunded, inflationary and undeliverable.

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Rishi Sunak labels himself the underdog as ‘forces that be’ back Liz Truss

No wonder Scottish Tory MPs and MSPs are running away from microphones to avoid having to commit to either leadership candidate, neither of whom appeals to voters in Scotland.

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Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss have made clear they will not allow another Scottish independence referendum (Picture: PA)Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss have made clear they will not allow another Scottish independence referendum (Picture: PA)
Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss have made clear they will not allow another Scottish independence referendum (Picture: PA)

Having been saddled with the hated Boris Johnson as Prime Minister, they are left with the choice of one candidate who thinks Darlington is in Scotland and another who thinks Margaret Thatcher is a sellable proposition north of the Border.

While the Tories are reminding us how extreme they now are, the Labour Party is indistinguishable from the Conservatives on key policies from Brexit to public transport and utilities.

Keir Starmer is running away from his commitments as he tacks to the right, just as quickly as the Tory leadership candidates try and evade their responsibility for propping up BoJo as Prime Minister.

What Liz Truss, Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer all have in common is that they are democracy-deniers when it comes to Scotland. They all agree that people in Scotland should not decide about the future of Scotland.

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In contrast, the Welsh Labour First Minister Mark Drakeford has just said: “I’ve always been clear that if you have a government that is elected by its people with such a proposition in its manifesto, it should have the right to implement that manifesto.

"The Scottish National Party, much as I disagree with them on the issue, won an election on the basis that they would seek another referendum. How can that be denied to the Scottish people?”

Angus Robertson is the SNP MSP for Edinburgh Central and Constitution, External Affairs and Culture Secretary

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