Tories tell SNP MP to withdraw speech claiming party has 'casual relationship with truth'

SNP MP Drew Hendry in the House of Commons

SNP MP Drew Hendry in the House of Commons - Credit: Parliament Live

SNP MP Drew Hendry has angered Tory MPs in a speech to the House of Commons which claimed the governing party has a "casual relationship with the truth".

The Scottish politician used his speech during a debate on the Internal Market Bill to brand the lesiglation “disastrous, petty, grubby, law-breaking, power-grabbing Tory Bill”, prompting calls for him to "withdraw" various remarks.

He told the chamber: "The prime minister and the Secretary of State [Michael Gove] have dropped this, and it is left to the minister [Paul Scully] to hold Dominic Cummings’s baby, and to front this up in parliament. I almost feel sorry for him, but then I remember that both the Treasury solicitor and the advocate general for Scotland have already resigned over this, because it is such a terrible move by the government.

"The House of Lords, as we have heard, has rightly carved up this disastrous, petty, grubby, law-breaking, power-grabbing Tory Bill—and after the announcement made just an hour before we came in here tonight, we can add “shambolic” to that as well. We welcome the Lords’ removing a number of threats to devolution from the Bill. We already know that the Tories hate devolution, as the prime minister has made clear."

He continued: "When it comes to devolution, the Tories used to wear a mask to hide their contempt, but the Bill, and recent comments from the prime minister and the leader of the House, have ripped it away once and for all. The prime minister recently told his MPs that devolution was a disaster and Tony Blair’s biggest mistake—the latest in a long line of statements that he has made to show his distaste. We all remember him saying that 'a pound spent in Croydon is far more of value to the country…than a pound spent in Strathclyde'."

As Hendry batted off interventions from Brexiteer MPs, he concluded his thoughts by claiming: "This Bill continues to facilitate a race to the bottom on standards, threatens our quality food and drink, opens the door to genetically-modified beef and chlorinated chicken, among other products, and opens the door to privatisation of our water and our NHS.

"As I have pointed out, the House of Lords has rightly carved up this disastrous, petty, grubby, law-breaking, power-grabbing, messy Tory Bill. Its amendments must be respected and agreed.  The Scottish government have always engaged willingly to take forward the common frameworks progress this devolution-wrecking—"

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But the remarks were too much for Tory MP Andrew Bowie, who for the second time branded it "rubbish". 

Rising to his feet again, the SNP politician hit back: "The hon member says 'Rubbish', but he knows that is not the case. We understand that the Tories have a very casual relationship with the truth, but we expect them to at least have a one-night stand with it."

He continued: "It is no surprise that in Scotland we have now had 15 opinion polls in a row that show that a majority of people support independence. That has not happened overnight; that has happened because they have been watching what has been happening here, and have seen the contempt with which Scotland and Wales’s parliaments have been treated. The result is the growing demand for us to protect our parliament in that way."

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