Liz Truss sparks anger after calling Nicola Sturgeon an ‘attention seeker’ best ignored

Liz Truss and Nicola Sturgeon
Liz Truss' comments about Scotland's First Minister (left) have been described as full of 'contempt.' Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Liz Truss has been accused of a "desperate outburst" after describing Nicola Sturgeon as an "attention seeker" best ignored.

The Tory leadership candidate criticised Scotland's first minister at a leadership race event, before ruling out a second independence referendum.

Her comments were met with cheers from a Tory party members listening to her speak at a leadership race event on Monday.

SNP Member of Scottish Parliament for Aberdeen Central, Kevin Stewart, said they spoke volumes of what Ms Truss thinks of Scotland.

He told ITV News: "For Liz Truss to say she will ignore the first minister of Scotland speaks volumes for this so called Union of Equals - Scotland will have a referendum on independence just as the electorate instructed.

"The Tories haven't won a single election in Scotland since 1955 and this Tory leadership contest is a solid reminder why."

He added: "The values and policies being trumpeted by both candidates has been so far removed from the priorities of Scottish voters and this outburst from Liz Truss is just the latest in a long line of ill-considered and desperate pleas to the Tory membership base in the south of England."

Ms Truss, speaking at a hustings event in Exeter on Monday, referenced growing up in Paisley, Scotland, before saying: “I feel like I’m a child of the union, I really believe we’re a family and we’re better together and I think the best thing to do with Nicola Sturgeon is ignore her.”

Tory members cheered and applauded the comment, with the Foreign Secretary adding: “She’s an attention seeker, that’s what she is.

“What we need to do is show the people of Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales what we’re delivering for them and making sure that all of our government policies apply right across the United Kingdom.”

Liz Truss was speaking at an event at Exeter University on Monday. Credit: PA

Ms Truss replied “no, no, no” when asked about another independence referendum in Scotland if she becomes prime minister.

In response to her comments, SNP deputy leader Keith Brown told STV: “It is crystal clear that the people of Scotland and Scottish democracy mean nothing to either of the contenders for next Tory prime minister.”

Brexit opportunities minister Jacob Rees-Mogg added to comments made by Ms Truss saying he had previously called First Minister Nicola Sturgeon "moan-a-lot".

Mr Rees-Mogg added: "I've called Nicola Sturgeon 'moan-a-lot', so I have said things that are very similar to what Liz Truss said about Nicola Sturgeon.

"The Union works for everyone, it is hugely successful and the Scottish Government is a failing government, it has been poor on education, it has been poor on policing and it has been poor on the health service in Scotland.

"It has had lower measurable levels of success than her Majesty's Government across the whole of the United Kingdom and therefore it is quite right that we should focus on the Union and how that is good for Scotland rather than Mrs Sturgeon."

SNP MP Chris Law, posting on Twitter with a reference to Ms Truss’s remarks, said: “The only reason why Scotland needs independence. Utter contempt from the future PM.”

Ms Sturgeon has made a fresh case for the nation to leave the UK, calling for 'Indyref2' to go ahead.

Outgoing Prime Minister Boris Johnson has rejected Ms Sturgeon's request for a second Scottish independence referendum.

The UK Supreme Court is set to hear arguments on whether a second independence referendum could be held without Westminster’s backing, following proposals published by the Scottish First Minister.

Ms Sturgeon wants to hold a referendum in October 2023 but the UK’s highest court will consider if this would be in Holyrood’s legislative competence.

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