The Conservative MP who couldn’t bring herself to vote in the EU referendum has accused Scottish MEPs of trying to “block” Brexit.
Kirstene Hair MP, who won her Angus seat after last June’s snap general election, revealed in an interview with The Courier last month she had not voted in the divisive Brexit referendum, after saying she was unable to decide between the Leave or Remain arguments.
Ms Hair has now accused SNP MEPs Alyn Smith and Ian Hudghton of “frustrating” the will of the British people by voting in favour of an EU motion passed last week stating Brexit negotiations were so far insufficient.
The Scottish Conservative representative only passed comment on the SNP’s voting record, but both Scottish Labour MEPs also voted in favour of the EU motion during the plenary debate.
She said: “No matter which way people voted in the referendum, we all have a stake in making sure that we get the best possible deal as we navigate our way out of the EU.
“In Angus, there are a lot of issues to be addressed, not least control over our fishing waters and access to labour for industries such as fruit farming.
“The UK Government is working hard to make Brexit work, but our SNP MEPs are simply trying to block that progress.
“Unfortunately, our SNP MEPs are more interested in frustrating Brexit than delivering the decision the country made and getting the right deal.”
SNP MEP Ian Hudghton, whose constituency office is in Dundee, said Ms Hair should take the time to inform herself of the issues at stake, rather than blindly following Theresa May and Boris Johnson.
He said: “This is a staggering comment from somebody who couldn’t even decide how to vote in the EU referendum.
“It doesn’t take an expert to realise that the Tory government’s Brexit negotiations are not progressing sufficently – and refusing to acknowledge this would simply be burying our heads in the sand.
“At least two Conservative MEPs, from England, voted for the resolution last week, while Scotland’s only Conservative MEP failed to take part in the vote at all.
“Brexit is set to have an enormous impact on Ms Hair’s own constituency. Perhaps she should take the time to inform herself of the issues at stake here rather than blindly following Theresa May, David Davis and Boris Johnson over the hard Brexit cliff edge.”
The Conservatives have removed the whip from their MEPs who voted in favour of the non-binding resolution.
The EU agreed that “infighting” between prominent members of the Conservative front bench was delaying the Brexit process.
The union insists that until an agreement can be finalised on the status of EU citizens rights in the UK post-Brexit, the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland and the final financial settlement, then no trade deal between member states and the UK can be made.
MEPs voted to say negotiations had not made sufficient progress to begin trade talks by 557 votes to 92, with 29 abstentions.
The Angus constituency voted by 55.3% in favour of remaining a member of the EU.