Two Stirling politicians have criticised the Prime Minister Rishi Sunak over suggestions that his government may seek to make cuts to public services.
Stirling MP Alyn Smith and MSP Evelyn Tweed, both of the Scottish National Party, have claimed that the new Prime Minister has ‘no democratic mandate’ to implement such cuts.
Rishi Sunak, the MP for Richmond, was appointed Prime Minister earlier today at an audience with the King at Buckingham Palace. He was elected Prime Minister following a Conservative Party leadership contest over the weekend.
That contest, held following the resignation of former PM Liz Truss, required potential leaders to gain the backing of at least one hundred of their Tory MP colleagues. Sunak was in the running alongside former PM Boris Johnson and Leader of the House of Commons Penny Mordaunt.
Following their respective withdrawals from the competition, Sunak became the only Tory MP to reach this threshold. He was, therefore, elected leader of the Conservative Party yesterday.
As leader of the Conservative Party, the largest party in the House of Commons, he was invited to form a government. Though, this has drawn some criticism given that he did not face any form of public vote prior to being appointed PM.
Mandate or no mandate?
Stirling MP Alyn Smith said: “The Tories cannot honestly believe it to be democratic to install their third leader this year as Prime Minister – and then expect the public to accept further rounds of brutal austerity to pay for the Tories’ economic vandalism.”
Stirling MSP Evelyn Tweed agrees, adding that Mr Sunak is “quite simply another Prime Minister that Scotland has had thrust upon us with no mandate.”
In a statement outside Downing Street this morning, the new Prime Minister seemed to argue that the mandate which his party won in 2019, under then-PM Boris Johnson, remains in tact today.
He claims that the mandate won by his party is “not the sole property of any one individual, [but that] it is a mandate that belongs to and unites all of us. And at the heart of that mandate is our manifesto.”
He then went on to commit to fulfilling the commitments made by the Tories in 2019. He also told the country that there will be “difficult decisions to come” in order to return economic stability. Some interpret those “difficult decisions” as meaning some form of cuts to the public sector.
Whether the public will accept Mr Sunak is another question- but Smith and Tweed are clear in their opposition to it. In a tweet today, Labour leader Keir Starmer repeated calls for a general election. He claims that “[t]he public needs a fresh start and a say on Britain’s future.”
An argument for independence?
Smith and Tweed, however, believe that recent events serve as an argument in favour of Scottish Independence.
Smith said “businesses and households across Stirling face real challenges in this cost of living crisis, with food prices, inflation, energy costs, mortgages and other expenses all soaring.
“We need the powers of independence to rebuild our economy and communities – and regain our place in the European Union.”
SNP Leader and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon also makes this argument. In a tweet this morning, she claims that “to escape the damage of Westminster governments with no mandate here, and take our future into our own hands, Scotland needs independence”.
Of course, we will have to wait and see whether or not the public takes the same view – but it will be interesting to see what happens next.
Featured Image: Chris McAndrews / House of Commons