Nicola Sturgeon told to condemn protesters ‘spitting’ and shouting ‘Tory scum’ outside Tory hustings

Liz Truss vows she will ‘never, ever let our family be split up’ as she blasts Nicola Sturgeon’s ‘agenda of separatism’ – while SNP leader faces demand to condemn protesters ‘spitting’ and shouting ‘Tory scum’ outside Conservative hustings in Perth

  • Liz Truss vows to ‘never, ever let our family be split up’ in Union pledge
  • Tory leadership frontrunner condemns Nicola Sturgeon’s ‘agenda of separatism’
  • Foreign Secretary and Rishi Sunak speak at latest Conservative hustings event
  • SNP urged to condemn ‘vile behaviour’ of protesters outside the venue 

Liz Truss tonight vowed to ‘never, ever let our family be split up’ as the Tory leadership frontrunner promised to take on Nicola Sturgeon‘s ‘agenda of separatism’.

Speaking at the latest Conservative hustings event in Perth, the Foreign Secretary condemned the First Minister and her SNP government for having ‘let down’ Scottish voters.

Ms Truss accused the SNP of ignoring issues such as schools, hospitals and public transport as they chase another Scottish independence referendum.

Her rival for the Tory leadership, Rishi Sunak, also used tonight’s hustings event to take a swipe at Ms Sturgeon, as he vowed to ‘call out’ the Scottish Government’s record on drug and alcohol abuse.

Ms Truss and Mr Sunak addressed Tory members inside Perth Concert Hall amid reports of ugly scenes outside the hustings venue earlier in the evening.

Conservative Party co-chair Andrew Stephenson demanded Ms Sturgeon ‘unequivocally condemn’ the ‘vile behaviour’ of Scottish independence campaigners.

He claimed ‘Tory scum’ was being shouted at hustings attendees, while there were also reports of spitting and egg throwing.

Mr Stephenson posted on Twitter: ‘Shocking. Witnessing “Tory scum” being screamed at elderly Scottish pensioners and young women simply for attending a hustings. Also reports of spitting.

‘@NicolaSturgeon will you unequivocally condemn this vile behaviour from your independence supporters?’

West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine MP Andrew Bowie, a supporter of Mr Sunak, also condemned the behaviour of demonstrators.

He tweeted: ‘Eggs being thrown, spitting at pensioners.

‘The good old “tory scum” banner out… Good to see @NicolaSturgeon’s civic and joyous nationalism in action in Perth tonight.’

Ms Truss referred to her early childhood in Paisley, Renfrewshire – before her family moved to Leeds – as she described herself as a ‘child of the Union’.

‘To me, we’re not just neighbours, we’re family,’ the Foreign Secretary told the hustings event.

‘I will never, ever let our family be split up. I know Scotland is a great country, full of enterprise and ideas from Adam Smith to JK Rowling.

‘But the fact is Scotland has been let down by Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP government.

‘They have been pursuing an agenda of separatism rather than dealing with the issues they created in the Scottish education system, in the NHS and in the transport system.

‘I know the people of Scotland deserve better and they want better.’

Ms Truss promised to create an ‘aspiration nation’ across the UK, if she became prime minister.

Meanwhile, Mr Sunak insisted he would ‘not be shy’ about calling out the SNP’s record in Holyrood if he wins the contest to replace Boris Johnson.

As he promised to end the ‘devolve and forget mentality’, the former chancellor said: ‘I will not be shy about calling out the SNP’s record on things like drug and alcohol abuse, because it is not good enough and the Scottish people deserve better.’

Tonight’s event was the seventh of 12 official hustings event between Ms Truss and Mr Sunak being held for Tory members across the UK.

There are now less than three weeks remaining in the Conservative leadership contest, with either Ms Truss or Mr Sunak set to be named as the new PM on 5th September.

Liz Truss accused the SNP of ignoring issues such as schools, hospitals and public transport as they chase another Scottish independence referendum

Liz Truss accused the SNP of ignoring issues such as schools, hospitals and public transport as they chase another Scottish independence referendum

Rishi Sunak used the hustings event to promise to 'call out' the Scottish Government's record on drug and alcohol abuse

Rishi Sunak used the hustings event to promise to ‘call out’ the Scottish Government’s record on drug and alcohol abuse

Ahead of tonight's hustings at Perth Concert Hall, anti-Conservative protesters gathered outside the venue with banners - including one which read: 'Tory scum'

Ahead of tonight’s hustings at Perth Concert Hall, anti-Conservative protesters gathered outside the venue with banners – including one which read: ‘Tory scum’

Tonight's event was the seventh of 12 official hustings event between Ms Truss and Mr Sunak - and the only one to be held in Scotland

Tonight’s event was the seventh of 12 official hustings event between Ms Truss and Mr Sunak – and the only one to be held in Scotland

Conservative Party co-chair Andrew Stephenson demanded Ms Sturgeon 'unequivocally condemn' the 'vile behaviour' of Scottish independence campaigners

Conservative Party co-chair Andrew Stephenson demanded Ms Sturgeon ‘unequivocally condemn’ the ‘vile behaviour’ of Scottish independence campaigners

West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine MP Andrew Bowie, a supporter of Mr Sunak, condemned the behaviour of demonstrators outside the hustings venue

West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine MP Andrew Bowie, a supporter of Mr Sunak, condemned the behaviour of demonstrators outside the hustings venue

Merchandise for Ms Truss's campaign was on display inside Perth Concert Hall ahead of the hustings event

Merchandise for Ms Truss’s campaign was on display inside Perth Concert Hall ahead of the hustings event

Earlier today, Ms Truss rejected ‘sticking plaster’ solutions to the cost-of-living crisis as the Tory leadership frontrunner dismissed Labour’s £29billion plan to freeze energy bills.

The Foreign Secretary insisted there was a need for ‘long-term’ answers – such as her tax-cutting plans and boosting energy supplies – as she was quizzed over her approach to dealing with soaring gas and electricity costs.

Recent forecasts have shown energy bills for typical households could surge to an eye-watering £5,000 a year next April.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer this week attempted to seize the initiative by pledging to freeze the price cap on energy bills at its current level of around £2,000 a year, at a cost of £29billion.

This would be part-funded by an expanded windfall tax on oil and gas firms – although experts have suggested the eventual cost of Labour’s policy could be close to £60billion if price cap ended up being frozen for a year.

Asked if both she and Mr Sunak had failed to grasp the scale of the cost-of-living crisis, in comparison to Labour’s approach, Ms Truss told reporters: ‘We’re still in the leadership contest at the moment.

‘Now, my priority is reducing taxes so people can keep more of their own money at the same time as making sure we boost energy supply.

‘It is wrong to just keep sticking plasters on this problem.’

Speaking on a visit to a whisky distillery in Elgin, north-east of Inverness, the Foreign Secretary added: ‘What we actually need to do is make sure we are unleashing more energy, for example, from the North Sea.

‘We’re investing in technologies like nuclear, and we’re finding more renewable energy as well.

‘We need to solve this problem for the long term.’

Earlier today, Ms Truss rejected 'sticking plaster' solutions to the cost-of-living crisis as she visited a whisky distillery in Elgin, north-east of Inverness

Earlier today, Ms Truss rejected ‘sticking plaster’ solutions to the cost-of-living crisis as she visited a whisky distillery in Elgin, north-east of Inverness

The Foreign Secretary teamed up with Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross for the campaign visit in Speyside

The Foreign Secretary teamed up with Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross for the campaign visit in Speyside

Ms Truss insisted there was a need for 'long-term' answers as she was quizzed over her approach to dealing with soaring gas and electricity costs

Ms Truss insisted there was a need for ‘long-term’ answers as she was quizzed over her approach to dealing with soaring gas and electricity costs

Mr Sunak shared a laugh with Mr Bowie, the local MP, during a campaign visit to Cluny Castle in Inverurie today

Mr Sunak shared a laugh with Mr Bowie, the local MP, during a campaign visit to Cluny Castle in Inverurie today

The former chancellor is widely viewed to be trailing Ms Truss in the contest to replace Boris Johnson as PM

The former chancellor is widely viewed to be trailing Ms Truss in the contest to replace Boris Johnson as PM

Ahead of tonight’s leadership hustings in Perth, Ms Truss received a boost as 11 Government whips declared their backing for her.

Prior to the event, she branded Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon ‘out of touch’ as she vowed to go ‘toe to toe’ with the SNP.

The Foreign Secretary accused Ms Sturgeon of using ‘divisive sabre-rattling’ about another independence referendum to distract from the Scottish Government’s failings on education, drug deaths and ferries.

Writing in today’s Scottish Daily Mail, Ms Truss said she would ‘have no truck’ with the SNP leader’s push for another referendum next year.

In a series of high-profile promises, Ms Truss vowed to give MSPs ‘parliamentary privilege’ powers to help them act as ‘watchdogs’ of the Scottish Government.

She also pledged to get Scotland’s economy back on track and provide help to families and businesses facing the highest taxes in the UK. 

Ms Truss launched a war of words with Ms Sturgeon a fortnight ago, using a previous hustings event to accuse her of ‘attention-seeking’.

The First Minister hit back last week saying Ms Truss once asked her for advice on getting photographed for Vogue magazine.

Mr Sunak, who spent the day speaking to Tory members on a campaign visit to Cluny Castle in Inverurie, also came out talking tough about Ms Sturgeon.

He promised that Scottish civil servants would face greater scrutiny from Westminster, while UK ministers will be required to be more visible north of the border.

Mr Sunak said: ‘The future of the United Kingdom is bright but our Union must work together, each nation shoulder to shoulder, to get there.

‘We must defeat the collective challenges threatening the health of our public services.’

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