Labour’s Ms Duffield sparked a social media backlash after appearing to defend Nicola Sturgeon over comments directed at her by Conservative leadership hopeful Liz Truss. Ms Duffield argued that Foreign Secretary was wrong to have labelled the First Minister an “attention-seeker” and added that the SNP leader “can’t be ignored.”
Ms Duffield told GB News: “I mean, probably lots of people would secretly want to ignore Nicola Sturgeon for lots of reasons.
“But you can’t say that as a Prime Ministerial candidate. She’s in charge of Scotland it’s fairly important.
“We can’t ignore her and she’s adamant that there’s going to be that second referendum.
“We’re led to believe that the majority of the country is behind that as an idea, that’s something a prime minister is going to have to get to grips with from the off.”
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A clip of the exchange was shared by GB News on Twitter, where the user reacted angrily to Ms Duffield’s defence of the SNP leader.
“Liz Truss ain’t wrong,” argued @TheJoPublic.
@CandyAppleHead wrote: “Labour are obviously planning a deal with the SNP. They’re playing a very dangerous game.
Another user, @Pete_Bassist added: “Why not? She is!”
It comes after Ms Truss and her allies have launched personal attacks on Nicola Sturgeon, something which could further strain the relationship between Westminster and Holyrood if the Tory leadership hopeful becomes the next prime minister.
The Foreign Secretary labelled the First Minister an “attention-seeker” who should be ignored, while Ms Truss’s ally, Jacob Rees-Mogg, said the Scottish National Party leader is “always moaning”.
Deputy First Minister John Swinney said the attack on Ms Sturgeon from someone hoping to be the next occupant of No 10 is “completely and utterly unacceptable”.
Ms Truss, who spent time in Paisley as a youngster, described herself as a “child of the Union” and has claimed that “some Scots love me”.
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At Monday night’s leadership hustings she took aim at Ms Sturgeon and her push for another independence referendum in October 2023.
“She’s an attention-seeker, that’s what she is,” Ms Truss said as she rejected the idea of another plebiscite if she becomes prime minister.
“What we need to do is show the people of Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales what we’re delivering for them and making sure that all of our Government policies apply right across the United Kingdom.”
Brexit Opportunities Minister Mr Rees-Mogg doubled down on the attack, telling Sky News on Tuesday: “When she’s waffling on endlessly about having a referendum and going to the Supreme Court and all of this, we need to be saying ‘Hold on – you’re doing this because you’re failing to deliver for the people of Scotland, and the United Kingdom Government will have to deliver for the people of Scotland as well’.”