MICHAEL Gove has poked fun at the SNP’s Westminster leader for his unwavering support for Scottish independence.
The Cabinet Office Minister was speaking to journalists during a visit to Aberdeen.
He was asked about calls from the SNP for an independent investigation to take place into the fallout of the Matt Hancock affair – with the party’s deputy Westminster leader, Kirsten Oswald, calling for a probe to “shine a light on Tory cronyism”.
Mr Gove was also pressed about the SNP’s Westminster leader, Ian Blackford believing the fiasco around Mr Hancock is strengthening the case for Scottish independence.
Mr Gove said: “Ian thinks that everything strengthens the case for independence.
“I’ve never heard Ian say ‘actually my faith in independence has been shaken by this particular event and I’m slightly less keen on the idea than I was beforehand’.
“So, I love Ian – he’s great fun and a very-much valued part of Westminster. But Ian does tend to look at these issues from one particular point of view and that’s Ian and the Ian we love.”
The Cabinet Office Minister also addressed calls from the SNP for an independent inquiry – suggesting it was part of the party’s communications strategy to do so.
He said: “The SNP press department have two modes – one is a call for an inquiry and the other is a proclamation that whatever’s just happened furthers the case for independence.
“That’s what the highly-skilled folk in the SNP press department do all day and they do it very well.”
Mr Gove added: “The truth is that the UK Government and Matt (Hancock) were responsible for, and are responsible for, the highly-effective vaccine procurement programme and roll-out. We’ve worked well with the Scottish Government and others in order to ensure that we can improve public health.
“If there are any specific concerns that SNP colleagues or others have, then of course they will be investigated. But a blanket denunciation of the UK Government is, I think, no more helpful than a blanket denunciation of the Scottish Government.
“The key thing is we need to work together.”