Jacob Rees-Mogg has launched an extraordinary attack on Nicola Sturgeon, claiming she is “always moaning”.
The Brexit opportunities minister said Scotland’s first minister was “very often wrong”.
Rees-Mogg is backing Liz Truss to be the next Tory leader and also defended controversial remarks she made about Sturgeon at a hustings event in Exeter.
Truss told an audience that Sturgeon was an “attention seeker” and added: “The best thing to do with Nicola Sturgeon is ignore her.”
Rees-Mogg told Sky News: “When she’s waffling on endlessly about having a referendum and going to the Supreme Court and all of this.
“We need to be saying, hold on you’re doing this because you’re failing to deliver for the people of Scotland, and the United Kingdom government will have to deliver for the people of Scotland as well.”
He accused Sturgeon of wanting to keep Scotland in “permanent lockdown” as the UK government supported the response to the coronavirus pandemic.
“I think she’s very often wrong, she’s always moaning and we need to focus on how the union benefits people,” he said.
Rees-Mogg and Truss’s words will likely prompt an angry response from Scottish nationalists.
Asked about the prospect of another independence referendum if she were to become PM, Truss said on Monday night: “No, no, no.”
Scotland’s deputy first minister John Swinney said her comments were “completely and utterly unacceptable”.
He told BBC Radio Scotland they had been “ridden roughshod over” by the attitudes of the Conservative party over the last few years.
He said: “When people are saying to us we would like our two governments to work more closely together, this comment from Liz Truss demonstrates what we are up against.
“I come across this frequently when I’m dealing with the UK government - a contempt for Scotland, a desire to belittle Scotland and not hear our voice.
“And if you don’t believe me on this just listen to what Mark Drakeford, the Labour first minister of Wales, says - he says exactly the same thing about how Wales is treated.”