Alex Salmond told George Osborne his 'Project Fear' campaign had lost Remain the EU referendum
The ex-chancellor’s “scaremongering” was attacked in the House of Commons this afternoon as MPs debated the triggering of Article 50 and the beginning of EU divorce talks.
Mr Osborne faced a backlash from former Scottish first minister and SNP MP Alex Salmond, a committed Remain supporter, a few hours before the Brexit process is set to clear its first hurdle in Parliament.
Addressing MPs during the second reading of the Government’s proposed Article 50 Bill – which will hand the Prime Minister the power to trigger the UK’s exit – Mr Osborne used his speech to warn MPs he will “be in those fights” during the next two years of Brexit negotiations.
But Mr Salmond hit back at Mr Osborne over his widely-criticised EU referendum campaign tactics, while he also took aim at the former chancellor’s decision to cash in on his time in the Treasury now that he has left government.
Since being sacked as chancellor by Theresa May in July, Mr Osborne has raked in more than £600,000 in lucrative speaking engagements.
He has also courted controversy by landing a reported £200,000-a-year part-time role with BlackRock, the world’s biggest fund manager while remaining an MP.
Campaigns have to be built on more than fear
Responding to Mr Osborne’s speech, Mr Salmond said: “Can I start by congratulating the former chancellor on his speech which was a good deal shorter and a great deal less lucrative than the ones he's used to giving these days.
Attacking Mr Osborne’s role in the EU referendum campaign, Mr Salmond added: “He may have argued the case with passion during the campaign.
“But it was his tendency to take perfectly reasonable Treasury forecasts as to the long-term damage that would be done by withdrawal from the Single Market in terms of GDP and wealth of this country and turn them into apocalyptic, emergency budget, day of judgement scaremongering that was one of the reasons the Remain side lost the campaign.
“Campaigns have to be built on more than fear.”
Theresa May's 12 point Brexit plan
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Continued cooperation with the EU to tackle terrorism and international crime.
Mr Osborne had told MPs to prepare for “lively debates” over the next two years, as Britain’s post-Brexit future is thrashed out in the House of Commons, while declaring he will play an active role in those arguments.
He said: “We have, of course, made a decision to leave the EU – as the successful Leave campaign put it – to take back control. But that does mean a series of issues are going to come to this Parliament that completely divide Brexiteers from each other, Remainers from each other, they divide Conservatives from each other and they divide members of other parties from each other.
“We are going to have very lively debates about free trade… we are going to have a very lively debate about immigration… we're going to have an argument about agriculture subsidies… and we're also going to have an argument about state aid.
“I will be in those fights in the couple of years ahead.”
At the end of today's debate MPs will vote on an SNP amendment aiming to block the Article 50 Bill.
The Bill is expected to survive tonight's vote despite opposition by pro-Remain MPs and will return to the House of Commons for a final vote next week.