Penny Mordaunt ‘utterly destroys’ SNP’s Ian Blackford as MPs reject his motion

Penny Mordaunt shuts down SNP for ‘lack of self awareness’

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The two politicians clashed in the House of Commons in a fierce debate over Covid contracts, with Mr Blackford accusing the Tory Government of misusing public funds. But Ms Mordaunt, who served in Theresa May’s Cabinet as international development secretary and defence secretary, was unshaken in her resolve to showcase the SNP’s many failings throughout the public health crisis.

She said she was “beginning to notice a pattern” with SNP politicians determined to undermine Westminster and dismiss any help Scotland has benefitted from during the epidemic.

She said: “In addition to the many things that we have done in Government to improve transparency and procurement, let me also tell the SNP and the House what we have not done.

“We did not hire a firm at £10 million to run our testing service, which promptly furloughed its staff; the SNP did.”

She also claimed the SNP had “ignored” firms offering PPE to NHS Scotland.

She continued: “We did not provide guarantees to the tune of £5 million per job to be secured, yes £5 million per job, and then fail to secure those jobs; the SNP did.

“We did not secure loans without due diligence; the SNP did.

“Our national audit office didn’t say that we had no framework for working with private companies, and indeed needed to urgently establish one; Audit Scotland did of the Scottish Government.”

She also said the SNP-led Government had “ignored” recommendations made by its auditing body.

In her Cabinet Office role as Paymaster General, Ms Mordaunt is responsible for supporting Lord Frost as he steers the UK’s post-Brexit strategy.

After her brutal slap-down of the SNP was viewed on social media, many people called for her to be given a bigger role in Government.

Cllr Joe Porter of Staffordshire Moorlands District Council tweeted a video of Ms Mordaunt’s dressing down of the SNP, saying: “Another outstanding performance from @PennyMordaunt utterly destroying the SNP.”

Another person said the MP “should be Prime Minister”.

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And yet a third questioned: “Why is @PennyMordaunt not higher up in this gov?”

Others urged Boris Johnson to promote her, saying she “merits a place in the Cabinet”.

Her speech was in response to the SNP’s Westminster leader’s calls for an inquiry into how the Government handled the coronavirus crisis.

He said Mr Johnson and his Cabinet were guilty of “endemic cronyism” and had offered contracts to their “rich friends” using money out of the public pot.

In a furious rant, Mr Blackford told the Commons: “This Tory government funnelled cash for the frontlines into the pockets of their rich friends.

“The pandemic has led to opportunism, for greed and for covid profits above accountability, because this Tory Government is guilty of funnelling covid cash from the frontline into the pockets of its rich friends.

“We are talking about endemic cronyism during a global pandemic. The misuse of funds, Covid profiteers raking in billions of pounds for services which have often been too substandard or irrelevant to the fight against this virus.

“Billions of pounds whilst millions in our society have been excluded from any help from this Government. The SNP is saying today, enough.”

Following the debate, MPs voted against calls for the Government to “immediately” commence the Covid-19 public inquiry.

Mr Blackford’s motion to speed up the inquiry’s timetable was rejected by 365 votes to 263, majority 102.

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