Watch: SNP candidate claims English border would ‘create jobs’

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The calibre of SNP representatives in recent years has provided Mr S with a rich seam of stories and memorable lines. Nearly one fifth of the party's Westminster contingent has been sacked, quit, put under investigation or suspended during the last 18 months while in Holyrood there has been the ongoing Salmond/Sturgeon saga and the spectre of sleaze in Derek Mackay and Mark McDonald.

Few though have been as eminently quotable as the incumbent member for the South Scotland region, Emma Harper. In 2019 she appeared on the BBC Scotland show Debate Night and made a series of bizarre claims when asked about whether an independent Scotland would keep the British pound. Harper compared the situation to what happens in Ireland and Northern Ireland which use different currencies; then claimed that Scottish pounds can be exchanged at different rates around the world even though this only happens by error; and ended by making the argument that ‘plastic translates anywhere.’ Trebles all round.

Now though, Harper appears to have surpassed herself once again. Asked by ITV about whether there would be checks along the 108-mile border should Scotland become independent and rejoin the European Union, she began by railing against Boris Johnson's Brexit deal claiming: 'We’ve already got a hard border in the Irish Sea and that’s something that Boris Johnson told us we were not going to have.' She went on: 'If a border will work — we can show that a border will work — there are issues that have been brought to my attention that show that jobs can be created if a border is created. And again, we want the softest of borders.'

So to summarise: a Northern Ireland border is bad but one in Scotland is good but only a soft border even though a more rigorous one would presumably create even more jobs? It was just last week that Harper's colleague John Swinney said he wanted to 'tear down' barriers in education. Harper apparently now wants to recreate them in geography instead.

Written bySteerpike

Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to

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