By Lucy Ashton
Stephen Flynn was urged to come clean on whether he signed Nicola Sturgeon‘s ‘sorry you got arrested’ card in a fiery Prime Minister’s Questions exchange with Rishi Sunak. The SNP have been widely ridiculed after it emerged they would send their former leader the note along with flowers after she was quizzed by detectives as part of Operation Branchform on Sunday.
And the PM could not wait to get a dig in when Mr Flynn tried to put him on the spot in a debate about mortgage rate rises. Mr Sunak ended the clash by saying: “I saw that the SNP yesterday, Mr Speaker, had a meeting to discuss their future, but the only thing they managed to decide was that they should send Nicola Sturgeon some flowers. So can he tell us, did he sign the card?”
Shaken by the quip, Mr Flynn accused the Tory leader of needing to “grow up”. He went on to say: “The Tory benches they don’t want to accept it and the Labour Party, they don’t want to talk about it, but whether it’s food prices, energy prices or indeed mortgage prices, households in Scotland are being shafted by Brexit. So can I ask the Prime Minister will he apologise for the cycle of misery that Westminster has caused?”
But again, Mr Sunak had a response, saying: “While his party leader calls Nicola Sturgeon the most impressive politician in Europe, we are getting on delivering for the people of Scotland. Paying half of their energy bills, making sure that pensions rise, making sure that there’s direct support for those who need it with the cost of living and crucially ensuring that we secure over 200,000 jobs by supporting Scotland’s North Sea oil and gas industry, something opposed by his party.”
The SNP’s leader in the Commons had earlier claimed the Prime Minister had previously “warned of the perils of mortgage rate rises”.
He said: “During his ill-fated leadership bid late last summer, the Prime Minister, left, warned of the perils of mortgage rate rises, indeed he stated and I quote, ‘it’s going to tip millions of people into misery and it’s going to mean we have absolutely no chance of winning the next election’.
“Given that mortgage rates continue to rise, does he still agree with his own electoral analysis?” Mr Sunak replied: “Which is absolutely why our economic policy sets as our number one priority to reduce inflation and thereby bring interest rates – which, by the way Mr Speaker, have also risen in pretty much every developed economy around the world – more so in places like America and New Zealand, similar in other countries as well, like Australia.
“But it is important in order to reduce inflation that you do need to have control over borrowing, which is why we unlike the party opposite are disciplined with regard to the public finances.”