Ruth Davidson is “the only Scottish politician looking for a safe seat in England at the moment”, an SNP MP has said.
The quip from Joanna Cherry came after Tory backbencher Jacob Rees-Mogg said he could see an SNP government at “some point in the next millennium”, as he joked the party could field a candidate in his Somerset constituency.
The exchanges began as Mr Rees-Mogg said the so-called Henry VIII powers in the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill should be treated “with the deepest suspicion” by MPs.
“The job of the House of Commons is to protect the powers of the House of Commons against an over mighty executive,” said the North East Somerset MP.
“And dare I say this to the frontbench, that all executives seek to be over mighty.
“It is in their very nature, whether it is your side that is in power or whether it is the opposition, and those of us who are on the Government backbenches should always remember that we won’t be in Government forever.
“And at some point, I’m sorry to say this, I take a very long view of history, I see that some point in the next millennium we may have an SNP government, heaven help us.”
One SNP MP could be heard saying “we’ve already got one”, to which Mr Rees-Mogg replied: “But not for the United Kingdom as a whole, no, not yet.
“I wait for you to put up, for the SNP to put up a candidate in North East Somerset and see how well that goes down.”
In a later speech Ms Cherry, the SNP’s home affairs spokeswoman, said: “I thank him for his gracious offer that an SNP politician might wish to stand in his constituency.
“But I can inform him that the only Scottish politician looking for a safe seat in England at the moment is the leader of the Conservative and Unionist Party.
“The rest of us are quite happy with our seats in Scotland, safe or otherwise.”
Tory backbencher Philip Davies (Shipley) also drew laughs when he asked Mr Rees-Mogg: “Would he concede that some of us, whichever party’s in government, are always in opposition.”