FORMER Tory leadership candidate Penny Mordaunt has claimed the SNP's approach to politics is based on "bile and hatred" during an appearance at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. 

The leader of the House of Commons was speaking to broadcaster Iain Dale as part of his All Talk event at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe on Sunday afternoon.

She accused the SNP of using a “victimhood” narrative to describe Scotland’s place in the United Kingdom, which she said “winds me up”.

Mordaunt, who was defeated by both Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss in last year’s Conservative leadership contest, said: “I think if you approach the thing that you’re trying to get done with real bile and hatred, which is quite often the sentiment that comes across from the SNP, I think you’re going to fail.

“Movements based on that kind of politics, I don’t think are ever successful.”

Her comments come as the UK Government is set to move asylum seekers into  accomodation on a barge despite a firefighters union describing the vessel as a "potential deathtrap". 

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Mordaunt’s appearance, at the Pleasance at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre, had to be moved to a larger room due to significant demand.

Host Iain Dale said the show had sold the most tickets so far, with former first minister Nicola Sturgeon, who will appear on Thursday, just behind.

Asked whether the Tory Government’s refusal to grant a second referendum despite a pro-independence majority of MSPs in the Scottish Parliament gave the SNP a “martyrdom element to use to their advantage”, she said: “It is part of the default setting of the SNP that they are going to play victims.

“They reduce what is a fierce and powerful nation to a narrative about victimhood and that winds me up when they do that about Scotland.”

Mordaunt also told the audience the that using the general election as a mandate for independence would not work.

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She said: “Something so fundamental as independence requires a referendum and we had one.

“It is not the time now to be having another one. I think if you’re taking general elections as a mandate for that, it doesn’t work because people vote on a whole raft of issues.”

SNP MP Deirdre Brock said her party’s approach was “inherently positive” compared to the Conservatives. 

She said: “The SNP supports independence because we want Scotland to have the power to build a fairer, greener and more prosperous country. That is inherently positive.

“With independence, Scotland can regain its place at the heart of Europe, maximise our potential as a renewable energy powerhouse, and build a wealthier, healthier and fairer society.

“In contrast, the Tories and pro-Brexit Labour Party are lurching to the right, isolating the UK with Brexit, and imposing a cost-of-living crisis on millions of families.

“There is nothing positive about Westminster plunging children into poverty, creating a stagnant low-wage economy, attacking devolution or taking people’s rights away. That’s what Sunak and Starmer have done, and it’s why people in Scotland prefer the SNP’s positive vision of independence.”