Ditching the pound in Scotland to create a new currency “is the single-daftest idea in British politics”, Michael Gove has said.
The Tory Minister ridiculed the SNP’s plan for a separate currency if Scotland gets independence as “economic madness” which would increase both prices and poverty.
Speaking at a fringe event at the Scottish Conservatives conference in Aberdeen, Mr Gove claimed that Nicola Sturgeon knows the policy “is mad”.
Asked about the proposals for a separate currency, the Tory leadership favourite said: “That idea is the single daftest idea in British politics in my lifetime. It would be economic madness.”
Mr Gove added: “It would also be an infrastructure nightmare”, Mr Gove said when detailing the situation for someone who lived on the Scottish border would face.
He added: “You would need a bureau de change at Berwick.
“You wouldn’t even be able to use sterling in Stirling. It is the craziest idea that I think they’ve come up with and the person who knows it is mad – Nicola [Sturgeon] herself, because she didn’t even want this policy.
“It was forced on her by the radicals who are increasingly in control of the SNP.
“There’s not a single Scottish business who believes this is a good idea and it just goes to show the single-minded obsession that the SNP have, driving them to ever-wilder forms of policy making.
“It’s also diverting the Scottish Government’s attention from the day job; the more time they spend constructing fantasy currencies, the less time they spend dealing with the bread and butter of improving education and healthcare.”
Asked whether the Prime Minister’s repeated defeats on her Withdrawal Agreement were hindering Ruth Davidson’s campaign to become First Minister, Mr Gove blamed Labour “for not getting Theresa May’s deal over the line”.
The Environment Secretary said the Prime Minister had shown “amazing effort and energy” and urged members: “We must keep faith in that resolve.”
Mr Gove also revealed that he is driven by the desire to repay his adopted parents “gamble” in choosing him, he told delegates.
He added: “Because I was adopted, my parents chose me. I have to show them that their gamble was worth it.”
A spokesman for Finance Secretary Derek Mackay MSP said: “Michael Gove would claim any currency option was the wrong one – and his comments simply underline the sense of panic gripping the Tories as support for independence goes from strength to strength.
“The whole point of becoming independent is so Scotland has the full powers to take decisions that are in the best interests of our economy and our people.”