The UK is at ‘peak banana republic’, according to the SNP’s Angus MacNeil after the government announces its Stronger Towns Fund and the health secretary turned up to answer questions on transport matters.
He said the failure to announce how much, if any, of the £1.6 billion pot of cash will go to the devolved regions showed the housing, communities and local government secretary James Brokenshire was ‘making it up as you go along’.
The member for Na h-Eileanan an Iar mocked the cabinet minister’s statement, which came after his colleague health secretary Matt Hancock had to defend a payment of £33 million to Eurotunnel over post-Brexit cross-Channel contracts.
He said: ‘With Seaborne containers, with the Channel Tunnel fiasco, with no idea for Scotland, no idea for Wales and maybe Northern Ireland has had its cash, we don’t know.
‘This is UK at peak banana republic, it’s make it up as you go along at the despatch box.’
Calling for money to help the towns in his constituency off the west coast of Scotland, Mr MacNeil asked: ‘Will we see our fair share or is this peak zenith banana republic from that despatch box?’
In response, Brokenshire said: ‘I’m sorry that the honourable gentleman seemingly does not have that sense of ambition that we have for Scotland going through Brexit and beyond.’
Labour MP Chris Bryant said he was ‘furious’ the Tories had suddenly discovered the magic money tree Theresa May had said did not exist.
Setting out how his constituency was ‘one of the poorest in the land’, he said: ‘I simply cannot remember a statement that has angered me more.
‘When he suddenly turns up having discovered the magic money tree, having lectured us for years about its non-existence, I frankly feel furious that we’re now meant to feel awfully grateful we might have a few crumbs from the table.
‘The worst of it is he can’t even bring himself to say how much money is going to go to Wales – probably not a penny.’
Brokenshire replied he was ‘sorry to have angered and disappointed’ Bryant and added: ‘I promise to him to come back to this House to be able to provide the details in relation to Wales and therefore I hope see him in slightly better humour on that occasion.’