Alister ‘Union’ Jack risks Scottish war with Wales as he one-ups colleague on love for Britain
Scotland Secretary Alister Jack has been forced to rein in his dry sense of humour in a bid to avoid a sour turn in diplomatic relations with Wales.
The Cabinet minister was keen to stress his pro-UK credentials in front of MPs today, when he even floated taking the initiative and adding “Union” as his middle name.
However the Scotland Secretary’s hopes of quelling pro-independence sentiment could in an ironic twist land him in hot water with his nation’s Celtic cousins.
When asked by the SNP’s Deirdre Brock “why the Scotland Office spends a significant amount on social media and the Welsh Office spends nothing”, he responded: “They’re less ambitious than us for the union obviously, we take it very seriously and we want to promote the good work that we do.”
“You’re seriously saying the Secretary of State for Wales is less ambitious for his area than you are?” the Nationalist MP shot back.
Keen to avoid Wednesday's Cabinet meeting evolving into peace talks with Alun Cairns, Mr Jack responded: “No that was a flippant remark, I wouldn’t take it too seriously. As for what he does and how he chooses to do it is a matter for him.”
It comes just weeks after he quipped at Tory conference that the Government could axe one of Britain’s “left-wing bank holidays” and replace it with a “Union” day.
When pressed on that by the SNP's Pete Wishart, he added: “If you remember, I also made lots of remarks that day, it was a panel for the union for the party conference, there was humour attached.”
“Union day has different meaning in different parts of the United Kingdom, so it was just as I say, a glib remark.”
As talks on Britain's future relationship with Europe continue apace, the Government will be relieved that its own representatives from the four nations remain largely allies.