The Steamie

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

David Maddox: No place on the Tory front bench for Scotland

David Cameron and the Conservatives have been painfully aware of their lack of support north of the Border. In a radio interview recently Mr Cameron admitted his party would not win many seats, even though they are targeting 11.
For this reason Mr Cameron and his party (at least in Scotland) have been keen to promote the so-called "respect agenda" should they win power in the UK without much of a Scottish mandate.
The details of this are well known and often repeated - ministers regularly visiting, an annual PMQs with MSPs, post Pre-Budget and Budget briefings, the Scottish Secretary giving a verbal report to MSPs on the implications of the Queen's Speech etc.
But respect needs to be symbolic as well, which brings us on to the last Scottish questions in the Commons before the election. This was my second since transferring from Holyrood to Westminster and today, like the last time, it was noticeable that shadow Scottish Secretary David Mundell (pictured) was shunted off the front bench to make way for other (more senior) colleagues for PMQs which followed immediately afterwards. today he was shifted before Scottish questions had even finished.
On both occasions poor Mr Mundell was forced to sit awkwardly on the steps between the back benches.
In comparison Jim Murphy remained on the Labour front bench throughout PMQs.
The sight of the frontbencher responsible for Scottish affairs being pushed aside so unceremoniously is not exactly the sort of respectful image for Scotland that the Tories have been so keen to claim is their own.

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