Oral Answers to Questions — Scotland – in the House of Commons at 11:30 am on 7th April 2010.
What recent discussions he has had with ministerial colleagues on levels of employment in Scotland.
I have regular discussions with the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions about employment in Scotland. Despite the severity of the recent recession, there are almost 250,000 more Scots working today than there were in 1997.
Has the Secretary of State been discussing the shipbuilding industry with his ministerial colleagues? In particular, has he been discussing the fact that Scotland faces the choice of the Type 45 with Labour or the P45 with the separatists? Has he been discussing the fact that the aircraft carriers are threatened by the Tories and would be sunk by the separatists, but are safe with Labour?
My hon. Friend is absolutely right. He and others are fantastic champions of shipbuilding in Scotland. He makes a very clear point. The Scottish Conservatives are in favour of industry-destroying cuts, creating elitism and sinking shipyards-we have an unchanged Scottish Conservative party. The last thing that Scotland wants to do is to go back to the old divisions of the 1980s under the Tory party. [ Interruption. ]
Order. We must have some quiet. I am sure that the House will want to hear Sir Nicholas Winterton.
Speaking in this House as a Conservative and Unionist, may I ask whether the Secretary of State agrees that Scotland's part of the Union has been very beneficial to Scotland, not least in respect of employment?
I am glad that the hon. Gentleman endorses some of what we have been doing over the past decade. Compared with 12 years ago, there are almost 250,000 more people in work in Scotland today, despite the recession. Most people in Scotland are passionate patriots and most Scots are not nationalists. That is why the longer the SNP is in power in Edinburgh, the smaller the support for breaking up Britain becomes.