Jacob Rees-Mogg told an SNP MP that his country would have been bankrupted by the coronavirus had it voted to be independent in 2014.
Rees-Mogg was responding to a question from the SNP’s Commons leader Tommy Sheppard when he claimed that because Scotland’s economy is ‘dependent on oil price’, it would have been ‘bankrupt’ by Covid-19 had it voted to leave the union in 2014.
Sheppard said smaller countries had been more ‘agile and effective’ in talking the economic impacts of Covid-19. He also said more people than ever supported Scottish independence.
He said: ‘Now we hear from many Cabinet members that Scotland’s salvation is due to the strong arms of the Union, implying that only big countries can deal with the pandemic.
‘But that is not true, in fact many small countries have proven more agile and effective.
‘But if the leader does believe this, can he explain why support for Scotland becoming an independent country is now running at 54%, an all-time historic high?’
Rees-Mogg replied: ‘Because of the strength of the United Kingdom, the Barnett consequentials have led to £4.6 billion being available to be spent in Scotland and this shows the success of economic management of the United Kingdom over 10 years of coalition and Conservative government.
‘The ability to answer the challenges of 2008 to ensure that the public sector finances got back into proper shape so that we were in the position where we could afford to deal with a fundamentally different crisis, which required a fundamentally different response, which required the expenditure of tax payers money, is a tribute to the strength of the United Kingdom.
‘And where would Scotland be had they gone for independence in 2014 with their revenue dependent on the oil price that has subsequently collapsed? They would be bankrupt. Bankrupt.
‘He calls for bankruptcy, Her Majesty’s Government has provided solvency and support for the people of the whole of the United Kingdom.’
Downing Street has repeatedly ruled out a second referendum on Scottish Independence, suggesting that ‘now was not the time’ to hold one.