SNP blasted over ‘remarkably petty’ revolt against King Charles portraits

Humza Yousaf discusses his hopes for Scottish independence

The SNP has been accused of being “remarkably petty” over a revolt against plans to offer public buildings a portrait of the King.

Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden has requested an “exhaustive” list from the Scottish Government of buildings such as schools, police stations and council offices that would qualify for a free framed picture of Charles under a UK-wide initiative.

But SNP sources said they would “not have any part of” the scheme.

Meanwhile, the Scottish Greens – who are also in government at Holyrood – claimed it would “look more at home in North Korea”.

But Shadow Cabinet Secretary for the Constitution, External Affairs and Culture Donald Cameron criticised the nationalist party over the refusal to take part.

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The Scottish Conservative MSP said: “It would be remarkably petty, even by the SNP’s standards, to refuse to pass on the details of public buildings that would be eligible – at no cost to themselves – for a portrait of the King.

“It has always been entirely normal for schools, hospitals and government offices to have a picture of the monarch.

“And no one is being forced to take one, they’re simply being given the option.

“If the SNP were to veto such a scheme because of their own constitutional obsessions, it would show how utterly divorced they are from public opinion.”

Scottish Government culture minister Christina McKelvie said the move would be a poor use of officials’ time and taxpayers’ money.

The SNP politician told the Sunday Mail: “In the midst of a cost of living crisis, we do not believe portraits of His Majesty are an appropriate use of civil service time or of public funds.”

An SNP source added: “Spending a small fortune on pictures of the King is simply wrong. It tells you everything you need to know about the Tories and Westminster that they want to put these portraits in every school, nursery and college.

“They want to hang a picture of one of the wealthiest men in the country over the heads of children in the poorest communities in Scotland. We will not have any part of it. It is ironic that this plan comes from the same Tories who are complaining about the civil service working on independence.

“That work is backed by the democratic mandate of the people of Scotland and yet they demand it stop. Yet here they are demanding Scottish civil servants spend their time organising thousands of pictures of the King. The hypocrisy is stunning.”

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The Scottish Greens also criticised the initiative to celebrate the monarch.

Education spokesperson Ross Greer said: “At a time when the UK Government is cutting Scotland’s budget and telling us there’s no money to fund basic public services, they can apparently find millions of pounds for a bizarre scheme that would look more at home in North Korea.

“If Westminster wants to boost support for Charles Windsor, maybe they should end the exemptions he and his family enjoy from everything from inheritance tax to anti-discrimination laws.”

A UK Government spokesman said: “It is right that public authorities, as part of the fabric of our nation, have the opportunity, should they wish, to commemorate the accession of His Majesty The King and reflect the new era in our history.

“To mark the Coronation, public authorities throughout the United Kingdom will be able to apply for a free portrait of His Majesty The King to celebrate the new reign.”

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