Jacob Rees-Mogg ruthlessly humiliated the SNP in the House of Commons on Thursday, after schooling Nicola Sturgeon on her repeated border claims. The Leader of the House fired back at SNP MP Patrick Grady after he challenged Mr Rees-Mogg on his denial of a border between England and Scotland earlier that day. In response, the senior Tory left the Commons in stitches after claiming the SNP were trying to exploit lockdown in a ploy for Scottish independence.
He again repeated the Prime Minister’s claim from Wednesday that there is no border between Scotland and England – insisting that the UK is “one country”.
Mr Grady, MP for Glasgow North, asked for details on how local lockdowns can be implemented and requested a debate on whether the UK really was “one country”.
Mr Rees-Mogg said: “Mr Speaker I never realised that our separatist friends revolved themselves on an Ealing comedy. It seems to have become Passport to Pimlico.
“There are no internal borders within the United Kingdom. It is one country, I am glad to say. And the fact there are – there is a difference between borders and between districts and areas.”
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This remark comparing Scotland to “a district or area” drew huge laughter from the Conservative backbenchers.
Mr Rees-Mogg continued: “This is self-evident. A border is something that you may stop people from crossing. Even I am not suggesting that we make people from Gloucestershire present their passports before coming into Somerset.
“Passport to Pimlico, the honourable gentleman will remember, was when Pimlico was thought to belong to the Duke of Burgundy or some such and therefore had become an independent state within the United Kingdom.
“Our separatist friend wants to do the same. And insist on passports to Scotland. And Mrs Sturgeon wishes to build a wall.
On Thursday, Ms Sturgeon branded the Prime Minister’s denial of the Scottish Border “absurd”.
Earlier in the day, during Business Questions, Rees-Mogg criticised Sturgeon’s “shameful” remarks after SNP Commons business spokesman Tommy Sheppard said the Government is “led by someone who thinks the border does not exist”.
Mr Rees-Mogg replied: “He mentions borders, and I noticed that Nicola Sturgeon wishes to have a wall – perhaps she is modelling herself on other leading political figures – between England and Scotland.
“One never thought that Nicola Sturgeon would model herself on American political figures and want to build a wall – at least a metaphorical wall if not actually getting like Hadrian with the bricks and mortar.”