Jacob Rees-Mogg dismisses independence support to insist Union is stronger

TORY minister Jacob Rees-Mogg has insisted the Union is stronger since Brexit – despite 16 successive polls giving majority support for Scottish independence.

The Brexiteer MP has also claimed that the EU has less of an appeal for Scots since the UK left the bloc in January and that this would further diminish.

He also cited the UK’s response to the pandemic as a way he believed the Union had been strengthened.

“Whereas now what you see is the real value of the United Kingdom, the strength of the United Kingdom. You’ve seen particularly during the Covid pandemic, with the £8.2bn of UK taxpayers’ money available for Scotland, which wouldn’t have been there had Scotland been an independent nation within the EU.”

He added: “So I think the real strength of the Union has become increasingly apparent. And the supposed advantages of being in the EU just aren’t there. Ireland is now a net contributor to the EU budget. You’ve got to have the euro. A new country entering would have to be a member of Schengen.

“So I think since we’ve left the European Union, since the vote for Brexit, actually the United Kingdom looks stronger, and the European Union a less attractive proposition.”

The interview was published in The House’s magazine last edition for 2020.

A poll published yesterday was the 16th successive one which gave a majority in favour of independence.

Fifteen previous polls have put Yes in front, one showing a record 58% backing.

Experts such as leading pollster Sir John Curtice say the support for Yes is due to the Tories push for a hardline Brexit while Scots voted to remain, as well as the toxicity of Prime Minister Boris Johnson in the view of many Scots.

Asked about the polls, Rees-Mogg said: “Opinion polls are a snapshot of what people are saying at a particular time and not always enormously accurate.

“If they were accurate, I’m not sure we’d have a Conservative majority of 80 at the moment. So I think one has to be cautious about one’s interpretation of opinion polls.

“And the one poll they had in 2014 showed a comfortable majority for remaining in the United Kingdom, which the SNP at the time said was the decision for a generation.”

He also claimed that “more people voted to leave the European Union in Scotland then voted for the SNP,” which is, at least, true of the party’s 2016 vote total, if not 2019.  “We should be pleased about that.”

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