The First Minister had not responded to the Foreign Secretary’s heavily criticized remarks from a hustings in Exeter – choosing to stay out of the fray as Truss prompted anger from across the political spectrum.
On Monday night the Tory leadership candidate was asked how she would handle calls for Scottish independence. The Holyrood parliament has a majority of pro-independence MSPs, elected on manifestos pledging to hold a vote this term.
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Sturgeon plans to hold indyref2 by October 2023, but if the current Supreme Court case finds Holyrood holding a vote without the UK’s consent is illegal she will instead use the next election as a de-facto referendum.
Truss argued that it is best to “ignore” Sturgeon and branded her an “attention seeker”.
“I feel like I’m a child of the Union, I really believe we’re a family and we’re better together and I think the best thing to do with Nicola Sturgeon is ignore her,” she told Tory members – who lapped up the remarks with cheers and applause.
“She’s an attention seeker, that’s what she is,” the PM hopefully added.
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While deputy FM John Swinney branded the comments “completely unacceptable”, and Truss managed to cause outrage among former Tory MSPs and Better Together campaigners, the First Minister herself kept quiet.
Sturgeon remained silent as Truss doubled down on her comments, saying she would not apologize to the SNP leader.
But on Friday evening she referenced the major row with a joke on social media – indicating it had not gotten to her.
Spotted this cute seal in beautiful Argyll. I think s/he might be a bit of an attention seeker 🦭😉 pic.twitter.com/MwJUPgUteu
— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) August 5, 2022
“Spotted this cute seal in beautiful Argyll,” she shared. “I think s/he might be a bit of an attention seeker,” followed by a winking-face emoji.
Independence campaigner and musician Iona Fyfe called the post “expert trolling”.
“Well played FM,” added another commenter.
Supporter Barry O’Neill also praised the reaction, writing: “Not one for getting embroiled in personal mud throwing; but focused on delivering for the people who democratically elected her! A wee side-joke is perfect Scottish humour.”
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The intervention came as Scottish Labor chief Anas Sarwar gave his take on the Truss jibe.
Speaking at a community hall event, Sarwar said his party is “desperate” for a general election to expose the failures of the UK and Scottish governments in tackling the cost-of-living crisis.
Sarwar said: “What we need is, not this rhetoric from our two Governments, not this fake fight between Liz Truss, Rishi Sunak and Nicola Sturgeon.
“What we need is our Governments to get their heads out of the sand, take urgent action so we can stop people starving in our country.”
He added: “I would plead with Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP, I would plead with Rishi Sunak, Liz Truss and the Conservative party – get over yourselves.
“Stop focussing on your own obsessions that’s about dividing people and start thinking about how we feed people in our country.”