A FORMER Labour minister has said that Scottish independence “can’t come soon enough”.

Leslie Huckfield, who represented the Labour party in both Westminster and Brussels, said independence was needed to rid Scotland of “The Clown, his Etonian buffoons and PPE cronies”.

His comments came in response to a tweet from public health expert Devi Sridhar on Monday.

Sridhar, the chair of global public health at the University of Edinburgh, had tweeted to praise the First Minister for “showing strong leadership and decisive action” after the announcement of a new national lockdown for Scotland.

She said in her tweet that Nicola Sturgeon should be applauded for clearly “explaining [the] current epidemic situation, why it is worrying, need to learn from other places (London/SE England) and rationale for the restrictions being put in place”.

Sridhar added that it was “one of the hardest jobs in the world”.

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Responding, Huckfield wrote: “It's also why so many of us are very glad we live in Scotland, with a Scottish Government which offers decisive leadership.

“Independence can't come soon enough, so we can get rid of The Clown, his Etonian buffoons and PPE cronies.”

The tweet is a thinly veiled reference to Boris Johnson and his Cabinet, of which 64% were privately educated, according to research from the social mobility charity Sutton Trust.

“PPE cronies” seems to refer to the billions of pounds of contracts handed out during the pandemic to people with little to no prior experience in the field of medical supply, but close connections to Tory ministers.

Huckfield was elected to be MP for Nuneaton in 1967 aged just 24. He was the baby of the house, the youngest person in the Commons, for two years.

He served as under-secretary of state for industry from 1976 to 1979, while Labour were in power under James Callaghan.

Huckfield also represented Merseyside East in the European Parliament for five years, from 1984 to 1989.

He has previously tweeted his support for an independent Scotland. On January 2 Huckfield wrote: “Many of us want Scotland to be independent because we want Scotland to be different - not just a milder version of what we have now.”