Penny Mordaunt is back from the Easter recess with even more ammo for her regular assaults on the SNP. And the Leader of the House went for the jugular when she compared the fiasco surrounding the SNP to an episode of Taggart, the long-running Scottish crime drama.
Mordaunt’s comments – which had fellow MPs in stitches and even drew a laughter from the Labour benches – came after the Argyll and Bute MP, Brendan O’Hara, standing in for Deidre Brock, asked for a debate on Scotland’s national football games not being on free-to-air TV.
She thanked O’Hara for standing in, adding “especially as it’s been a very painful week, few weeks for his party,” adding: “For some time now BBC Politics Scotland has resembled an episode of Taggart so I thank him for showing up today.”
She was referring to the arrests of former SNP chief executive Peter Murrell – and husband to Nicola Sturgeon – which saw the police arrive at his home early in the morning, erecting tents and blue tape in his garden like in the best detective series.
Then came the arrest this week of SNP treasurer, Colin Beattie, who has since left his role, in connection with the Operation Branchform police investigation into SNP finances. A motorhome said to have been bought by the party to fight the 2021 Scottish election – and seized outside the home of Murrell’s mother – has since been taken by the police.
Which is why campervans are now central casting in the Taggart show. Discussing the question of short money in relation to the SNP’s declining membership, Mordaunt quipped: “On the upside though I guess it will be easier for them to have a whip-round amongst their membership as that number is dwindling to a point where most of them could fit into a Luxury Campervan!” Bang bang.
We should see more of Mordaunt on the attack like this. Of all the leadership contenders to replace Boris Johnson, she was always the one who performed best at the despatch box, delivering barbs to the opposition with devastating effect. Her demolition job of Angela Rayner, Labour’s deputy leader, who in November 2021, accused government ministers and its advisers of fiddling the books, alleging the mishandling of contracts during the pandemic, is the one to watch. She turned the tables brilliantly, accusing Rayner of smear and innuendo with the exquisite timing you get from working as a magician’s assistant as she did many years ago. It’s a talent not to be wasted. If Dominic Raab does get the bullet today, who better than Penny to step up into his shoes? Bet Sunak wouldn’t dare.
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