Grayling attacks SNP as Tory MPs call for ‘Unity Day’ to celebrate No vote
Chris Grayling, the Leader of the House of Commons, turned his guns on the SNP this week as the Scottish Parliament entered its purdah period ahead of May’s elections.
Writing in The Sun, he accused the Nationalists of seeking “power without responsibility”, fighting against fiscal devolution which would make them accountable to Scottish taxpayers for their generous promises.
The Scottish Freedom of Information commissioner was criticised this week for shelving several FoI requests against the SNP Government until after the election.
Meanwhile, several Conservative MPs have called for the date the SNP declared would be their independence day to instead become a public holiday celebrating the Union.
STV’s Aidan Kerr reports that Mark Menzies, the Irving-born Member for Flyde, led the charge, and was supported by Alberto Costa and Therese Coffey.
The Government does not currently have any public plans to make Union Day a national celebration.
Trimble makes economic case for Brexit
Lord Trimble, the Conservative peer and former Ulster Unionist leader and First Minister of Northern Ireland, has set out why he joined the campaign to leave the European Union.
According to the News Letter he voted to remain in the EEC during the 1975 referendum, but now feels that the economic case for leaving the EU is much stronger than when the UK was the “sick man of Europe”.
He also said that he would be happy to campaign alongside the Democratic Unionists in the Brexit cause, if they end up working with Vote Leave.
Plaid Cymru demand job share First Minister as price for support
The Welsh Nationalists have set out their stall in the event that Welsh Labour end up dependent on their support to continue governing after the upcoming Assembly elections: half the job of First Minister.
Wales Online reports that Plaid want a “rotating First Ministership” if Labour fall under the 31-seats required for a majority, as the latest polls project they will.
With Labour having ruled out a pact with UKIP or the Tories, and the Liberal Democrats likely to win fewer seats than the gap, the Nationalists might be their only option.
But Plaid have tied their own hands by refusing to support a Conservative-led administration, the only viable alternative.
Jones has justified much of his nationalist posturing on the need to keep Plaid on the sidelines. It would be a terrible irony if he ended up ceding them his office, even in a timeshare.
First Minister calls for arrests as dissidents sour Easter Rising commemorations
Arlene Foster, leader of the DUP and First Minister of Northern Ireland, has called for police action after hard-line Republicans caused public disorder during events to commemorate the centenary of the Easter Rising.
The Belfast Telegraph reports that police were stoned by balaclava-clad youths, and others faced petrol bombs in Republican areas. Meanwhile masked men in paramilitary dress were present at several parades.
Foster is reported to have said: “I want these people behind bars. No place for masked men in Northern Ireland.”
Meanwhile, the widow of the first PSNI officer murdered by dissident Republicans in 2009 criticised the decision to re-enact the murder of a Royal Irish Constabulary officer in Dublin as part of the centenary.
Another Nationalist MP faces expense questions
A row has erupted after an SNP MSP was found to have paid more than £87,000 of taxpayers’ money to a firm owned 90 per cent by an MP from the same party.
Corri Wilson, the newly elected Nationalist MP for Ayr, owns the stake in start-up firm Caledonii Resources. Brodie claimed he hired her as “contract staff”, but she was registered with companies house as unemployed throughout. The Scottish Conservatives have called for an investigation.
Meanwhile Yen Hongmei Jin, Scotland’s only Chinese councillor, is suing the SNP for racial discrimination after officials allegedly blocked her bid to become a candidate for MSP and MP, and the Party is under pressure to ditch a Holyrood candidate for making transphobic remarks, describing EU diversity funding as a “tranny trove”.
…as ex-SNP MP faces fresh funds probe and libel suit
Nor has this been a good week to be Natalie McGarry, the MP for Glasgow East who sits alongside Michelle Thomson in the second-largest group of Scottish MPs: those who have lost the SNP whip.
First, lawyers working on behalf of Alastair Cameron, who runs the unionist group Scotland in Union, served her with a writ after she failed to adequately apologise for alleging on Twitter that he was a holocaust denier.
Then the National revealed (first time I’ve linked there!) that she is at the centre of investigations into the disappearance of over £4,000 from the Glasgow SNP accounts, of which she was main signatory from 2011 until last year.
This is on top of the original £30,000 in missing funds from Women for Independence, which she ran, which led to McGarry losing the SNP whip in the first place.