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New PM sacks David Mundell as Scottish Secretary

David Mundell - Image credit: PA

New PM sacks David Mundell as Scottish Secretary

Secretary of State for Scotland David Mundell has been dumped from new Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s reshuffled Cabinet, after four years in the role.

Johnson has appointed MP for Dumfries and Galloways Alister Jack as the new Secretary of State.

Mundell wrote on Twitter he was “disappointed but not surprised to be leaving the Scotland Office after 9 years.”

“Will, of course, support the new Government, but as I said to PM this afternoon I will also hold him to account on his commitments to the Union. Hope there’s still room on the backbenches!” Mundell tweeted last night.

Scottish Conservatives leader Ruth Davidson praised Mundell’s service at the Scotland Office as “exemplary” and said “we all owe him a debt of gratitude”.

“He has been a trusted advisor to two prime ministers, held his nerve during the independence referendum and faced down Nicola Sturgeon when she called for a re-run in 2017,” she said.

“He is passionate about opening doors for Scottish businesses in Whitehall and using the might of the UK government to promote them abroad, having led countless overseas trade delegations.

“While David chooses to conduct himself publicly in a typically understated manner, his strategic brain has been at the heart of the rebuilding project of the Scottish Conservatives. On a personal level, David handled his coming out as the Conservatives' first openly gay cabinet minister with customary care and grace.

"David understands the power of the Scotland Office to promote the United Kingdom - and to defend Scotland's place in it.”

Davidson welcomed Jack to the role, saying he had “proven himself to be a strong advocate for Scotland’s key interests, and for our place in the United Kingdom” since he was elected to Westminster two years ago.

“The Scotland Office has vital work to do over the coming months, both on Brexit and improving the way the UK government operates in Scotland,” she said.

“He has my full support in meeting that challenge and I know he will do a great job.”

Jack said he was “honoured to have been appointed Secretary of State for Scotland at a time when we face very significant challenges as a country.”

“We need to leave the EU in a way which works for Scotland and the whole of the UK. We can, and will, leave the EU, and in doing so open up new opportunities for Scottish businesses,” he said.

“We need to continue to defend the Union against those who would seek to tear it apart.

“In 2014, the people of Scotland voted to remain part of a strong United Kingdom.  We will stand up for their decision against those who would try to impose unwanted and divisive constitutional change.”

Jack said he would work with the Scottish Government to boost Scotland’s economy, “which continues to lag behind that of the rest of the UK, in large part due to the Scottish Government’s anti-business and high tax ideology.”

“The UK Government will continue to invest across Scotland, including through city and growth deals and supporting our oil and gas industry,” he said.

“There are challenges ahead of us, but I am confident that we will meet them successfully, building a path to a more prosperous country.”

Meanwhile, the SNP labelled the new cabinet as “the worst since Thatcher”.

SNP MP Pete Wishart said it was “a Tory cabinet from hell” and was “packed full of extreme Brexiteers and rabid right-wingers who want to drag us back to a bygone era.”

“Senior Tory Cabinet ministers have threatened to cut Scotland’s budget, roll-back devolution, and impose a devastating Brexit - that would inflict serious harm on Scottish jobs, living standards, public services and the economy,” he said.

“Westminster is becoming more extreme and out of touch by the day, while Scotland is being ignored and our interests are being side-lined. It's no wonder that support for independence is growing and a majority want a fresh referendum.

“People in Scotland deserve the choice of a better future than the Brexit Britain disaster being imposed on us by Westminster. It’s clearer than ever that the only way to properly protect Scotland’s interests is by becoming an equal and independent European country.”

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