Ruth Davidson’s MPs have been challenged by the SNP to start exerting pressure on their party leader over the issue of RBS branch closures.
A strongly worded letter sent by the SNP to all thirteen Scottish Tory MPs has called on them to “start acting” and urge the Prime Minister to intervene.
The SNP’s consumer affairs spokeswoman Patricia Gibson MP said: “The Tory government has the power and responsibility to intervene, and prevent these vital local banks from closing.
“They are letting Scotland down by repeatedly refusing to do anything. After huge pressure from the SNP and community campaigners, RBS announced a reprieve for 10 branches – but the fight to save the remaining banks continues.
“It is time for the Scottish Tories to stop whingeing and start acting. So far their actions have not matched their words – they complain that banks are being closed but they have failed to put any serious pressure on their own Tory government to act.”
The letter followed attacks by Conservative MPs on SNP MP Ian Blackford after the latter welcomed a partial reprieve for ten Scottish branches. Mr Blackford issued a message via social media welcoming the reprieve but urged the bank to rethink its decision to close a further fifty two Scottish branches.
However the SNP MP’s message was attacked by Conservative MP John Lamont who called it “astonishing”.
In a tweet, Mr Lamont said: “Astonishing reaction from
@IanBlackfordMP and @theSNP Have they actually read what @RBS have announced? They are doing laps of honour despite dozens of branches being shut across Scotland. How many “saved” branches will still be open this time next year? #baddecision”
SNP MSP Mike Russell replied: “The reality is that a Tory PM refused to lift a finger despite vast sums spent bailing out @RBS. @IanBlackfordMP working with communities has achieved something for places such as #Inveraray in my constituency – progress which is now being sneered at by Tories like [John Lamont].”
The failure of Scottish Conservative MPs to raise the issue with their party leader was demonstrated at Prime Minister’s Questions last November when SNP MP Ian Blackford pressed Theresa May on ths issue. However his Conservative counterpart, MP John Lamont, instead used his own question to attack the Scottish Government’s income tax policy.
A spokesman for the Scottish Conservatives said: “The idiocy of the SNP group in Westminster almost derailed what little concessions RBS were making.
“In contrast, the Scottish Conservatives will continue to work constructively and effectively behind the scenes to get a good deal for customers.”
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