PENNY Mordaunt has been blasted as “offensive” over comments she made in Parliament describing Scottish cities as rat-infested places where people suffer “Victorian diseases”.

The Leader of the House of Commons went on a lengthy rant against the SNP during an exchange on Thursday morning, in which she also speculated the party may try to blame its “grievances” on historical wrongs such as the Highland Clearances.

Asked by the SNP’s shadow Commons leader Deidre Brock whether the Government would schedule a debate on things she had learned from her recent trips to Scotland to speak at events during the Fringe.

In response, Mordaunt piled scorn on Scotland, telling MPs: “She invites me to tell this House what I’ve learned in my very pleasant trips to Scotland over the summer.

“I did learn that Scotland has slower economic growth than England.

“I was shocked to learn that Victorian diseases have actually returned to certain cities in Scotland such as rickets.

“That Glasgow’s rat problem is now so bad, it is precluding binmen actually accessing certain streets because it’s too dangerous for them.”

The Commons Leader went on to accuse the SNP of being “never short of a grievance”, adding: “It is now running out of excuses.”

She went on: “I look forward to next week what those excuses might be, the execution of Mary Queen of Scots, the Highland Clearances, the 100 Years War.

“The grotesque chaos and appalling public services her constituents are suffering from and the rest of the Scottish people are entirely down to the SNP alone.”

READ MORE: Is Scotland full of Victorian disease and rats like Penny Mordaunt says?

Her comments were met with fury from Glasgow MPs who described Mordaunt as seeming “more like an internet meme than a cabinet minister”.

'Another decaying minister, in a decaying Government'

Stewart McDonald (below), the MP for Glasgow South, said the minister was pandering to “angry corners of the Unionist Tory internet”.

The National: Stewart McDonald MP: Photo by Jamie Simpson

He told The National: “Another pre-scripted rant that makes Penny Mordaunt seem more like an internet meme than a cabinet minister, and all to try and keep her name warm for the upcoming Tory leadership contest.

“Having got carried away with heroically holding a sword – about the only achievement she’ll be remembered for – she now thinks her job is to trend on Twitter, so it’s no real surprise that she trades in disinformation and junk news to satisfy the angry corners of the Unionist Tory internet.

“The truth is that the leader of the house is just another decaying minister, in a decaying Government, that Scots cannot wait to see the back of. I look forward to seeing that trending at the ballot box."

Glasgow North East MP Anne McLaughlin added: “Tory ministers visiting Glasgow and feigning concern has been going on for decades but government after government enact the most brutal cuts and heinous policies that attack the poorest in society.

“There are a million things Ms Mordaunt could do to make people's lives better in Glasgow, remove the two child cap, stop benefit sanctions or make the wealthy pay their fair sure of tax, but that is of no interest to her or any other Tory minister."

'Offensive and ill-informed' 

Speaking after the exchange, Brock (below) said Mordaunt said it was time the Tories “recognised what they could learn from Holyrood”.

The National:

She said: "Penny Mordaunt's comments are typically as offensive as they are ill-informed.

“Today the Institute of Fiscal Studies has published a report showing social mobility in England is at its worst in over 50 years, with a growing wealth gap between north and south and inheritances becoming more influential in determining life chances.

“Meanwhile, the Scottish Government is using the devolved powers it has to tackle inequality and poverty, rolling out universal free primary school meals and increasing the Scottish Child Payment to £25 per week, as well as maintaining free prescriptions, free bus travel for over 60s and free tuition.

READ MORE: 'What a charmer': Scotland reacts to Penny Mordaunt's 'disease' and 'rat' comments

“As Professor Danny Dorling has noted, Scotland already has a lower proportion of children living in poverty than the most affluent region of England (the south east) and is showing the rest of the UK ‘the route to a fairer society’.

“As the UK Government unravels day by day the SNP are getting on with delivering a progressive agenda that has left Scotland with lower unemployment, lower child poverty, and not a single day in the NHS lost to industrial action.

“We know the Tories hate hearing positive things about Scotland but it’s time they recognised what they could learn from Holyrood."

'Crude and dated stereotypes'

Ruairi Kelly, SNP councillor for the North East of Glasgow, added: “Rats and Victorian diseases are no doubt familiar to Penny Mordant given the company she keeps on the Tory benches.

“Glasgow would of course be faring better if it was not for 15 years of Tory austerity and a £750 million Labour pay discrimination bill but our administration has steered this city through some of the most difficult times it has ever faced despite the best efforts of those who would delight in its failure."

A Scottish Greens spokesperson said: “Penny Mordaunt should be utterly ashamed. It tells us everything we need to know about the contempt that the Tory Government holds for Scotland.

“It is precisely because of their cruel cuts and damaging policies that poverty is once again stalking our streets and that people and families in all corners of our country are struggling with a cost-of-living crisis that they caused by trashing the economy

“Rather than indulging in such crude and dated stereotypes she should be reflecting on her own role in propping up 13 years of some of the cruellest and most incompetent Tory governments in history.

“Given her most significant political contribution has been losing to both Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak in Tory leadership elections, we can all be grateful that Penny Mordaunt's hands will never be on the keys to Number 10.”