Both Davidson and Mundell have threatened to resign from their posts over a Brexit deal that may “undermine the integrity” of the UK. Davidson and Mundell said they won’t support any Brexit deal that includes different status for Northern Ireland. It’s the same stance DUP leader Arlene Foster adopted.
On 14 October, Sturgeon beautifully exposed Davidson and Mundell for their “bizarre position”:
‘We’ll resign if you do anything that makes Scotland think there’s a better alternative to a hard Tory Brexit’ say Mundell and Davidson! First, what a bizarre position – isn’t it their job to stand up for Scotland? And, second, have they the gumption to resign? I bet they don’t! https://t.co/mR64ApibUr
— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) October 14, 2018
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And she called their bluff, questioning whether they have the “gumption” to resign.
Davidson and Mundell threaten to resign
Davidson and Mundell stated in a joint letter to Theresa May that they wouldn’t support a Brexit deal that had different arrangements for Northern Ireland. They claim separate arrangements will strengthen the case for Scottish independence.
In the letter, Davidson and Mundell said:
Having fought just four years ago to keep our country together, the integrity of our United Kingdom remains the single most important issue for us in these negotiations
We could not support any deal that creates a border of any kind in the Irish Sea and undermines the Union or leads to Northern Ireland having a different relationship with the EU than the rest of the UK, beyond what currently exists
A source close to Mundell told the BBC that resignation would be the obvious conclusion “If you find yourself not agreeing with government policy”. And a source close to Davidson told the BBC this issue was a “red line”.
The DUP leader Arlene Foster has adopted a similar stance. As reported in the Belfast Telegraph, the DUP will not accept a deal where there is “divergence which separates Northern Ireland from rest of UK”.
The reaction to the resignation threats
Many seem to agree with Sturgeon.
Scottish independence supporter Alan Ferrier, for example, schooled one Scottish Tory supporter who tried to defend the senior Tories:
Edinburgh South, part of @RuthDavidsonMSP's Holyrood constituency – voted 78% Remain. The highest percentage in the UK.
— Alan Ferrier (@alanferrier) October 14, 2018
Scottish Labour MP for Edinburgh South Ian Murray called Davidson and Mundell’s actions “utterly contemptible”:
But they also don’t want to continue to participate in the customs union and single market so how do they suggest resolving it? Utterly contemptible. They can’t achieve a no hard border in Ireland without participation in the same trading arrangements as the EU. https://t.co/w6MLFGcuJO
— Ian Murray (@IanMurrayMP) October 14, 2018
SNP MP for Edinburgh South West Joanna Cherry pointed out that both Davidson and Mundell are backing the “ghastly DUP”:
On Sunday Politics Scot @Feorlean points out how ludicrous are @DavidMundellDCT & @RuthDavidsonMSP threats to resign if Scotland is not treated as badly as the rest of the U.K. not to mention their backing for the ghastly #DUP #Brexit #ScotlandsPlaceInEurope
— Joanna Cherry QC MP (@joannaccherry) October 14, 2018
And SNP MSP and cabinet secretary for government business and constitutional relations at Holyrood Mike Russell didn’t hold back:
Read this & reflect this is the cause for which Mundell & Davidson said they would resign …not the wellbeing or prosperity of Scotland, but this….Unionists plan ‘guerilla war’ against Northern Ireland Brexit plan – POLITICO https://t.co/CUJpHsu9ep
— Michael Russell (@Feorlean) October 15, 2018
The Tories’ opponents are clearly not falling for this daft charade.
Just in case there was any ambiguity out there over Sturgeon’s mandate to hold another independence referendum, Ferrier offered a handy guide:
Here's a few democratic outcomes for you: pic.twitter.com/w5ZJgpa0n9
— Alan Ferrier (@alanferrier) October 14, 2018
After this Scottish Tory stunt, Scotland could become even more impatient with Davidson and Mundell. But some might say having Davidson and Mundell standing down wouldn’t be a bad thing.
And Davidson should have threatened to resign when the UK government took the Scottish government to the Supreme Court. It did so over the compromised UK Withdrawal from the European Union (Legal Continuity) (Scotland) Bill. The Scottish Parliament refused to give consent to the UK government’s EU Withdrawal Bill in May 2018. The Continuity Bill (Scotland) was the Scottish government’s alternative.
If that had happened, perhaps Davidson and Mundell would have a shred of credibility left. This is their party’s mess. They can’t cry wolf now.
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