AS the shambles in Westminster deepens by the minute and the battle within the Conservative Parliamentary Party becomes increasingly vicious it’s worthwhile reminding ourselves how this all came about. The Conservative and Unionist Party has always had a small vocal section vehemently opposed to membership of the EU for various reasons since before we actually joined the EU. Some of the reasons were ideological, others the financial self-interest of the section of society the European Research Group represent.

David Cameron, remember him? Well from the isolation of the Westminster bubble he thought he would use the electorate, the general public, to crush this irksome faction once and for all by holding a referendum on EU membership. In this he displayed the utter ignorance of and insouciance of the Westminster elite to the reality of life beyond the Watford Gap and the societal changes brought about by years of deliberate austerity. This had compounded the wounds caused by the progressive deindustrialisation of the regions stemming from the time of Margaret Thatcher coupled with the centralisation of wealth and its means of creation in the south-east of England. Not only did Mr Cameron fail to appreciate that he could lose the referendum he had no plans in place to deal with this eventuality.

The electorate faced a referendum based on what have subsequently proven to be false promises and non-existent prospectuses. So an internal dispute within one political party which currently only governs because of our archaic “first past the post” electoral system and shady back room deals has been allowed to fracture a country.

That we witness daily MPs, some of them Cabinet ministers, drawing lines in the sand only for the incoming tide of promotion and self-advancement to wash them away is revolting. Scottish Conservative MPs voting to support the interests of the party rather than those of the constituents who elected them is simply unsupportable as it is the antithesis of the basis of a representative democracy. The only positive we can take from the whole exercise is that it has clearly demonstrated that we cannot trust our politicians when they put party before country, tell barefaced lies, change their opinions to advance their careers and are willing to shut down Parliament to force a minority view on the country irrespective of the harm it will, not may, cause most of us.

David J Crawford, Glasgow G12.

MUCH will be said in the coming days and weeks about David Mundell, the MP for Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale who was also until recently Scotland’s Secretary of State. As a resident of Dumfries and Galloway I am very aware that both the current Secretary of State Alistair Jack and David Mundell were elected in 2017 to represent the residents of this county.

Alistair Jack voted for keeping a No Deal Brexit as an option. Strangely, despite all the independent evidence that it would be disastrous for jobs, livelihoods and prices in the shops, he has always supported the No Deal option. Although he was voting against his constituents’ wishes, at least you knew where you stood with Mr Jack and the voters of Dumfries and Galloway will have the choice at the next election to remove or keep him on as their representative.

What about the Right Honourable David Mundell? “Right” certainly describes his political leanings but “Honourable”? On Tuesday, Mr Mundell voted to support Boris Johnson’s option of a disastrous No Deal exit from the EU. However, in 2016 he agreed with the wishes of his constituents (as expressed in the EU Referendum) by saying publicly ”leaving the EU would be an absolute disaster for Scotland “. More recently, this year he joined his party leader Ruth Davidson in totally denouncing the No Deal option and confirming he would not support a No Deal because of its devastating effect, not just on Scotland, but on the whole of the UK.

Should we voters care about this apparent lapse of integrity when at least Ruth Davidson, as well as 21 Conservative MPs, including former Cabinet Members , decided to put the country and their own beliefs before the narrow interests of the extreme right-wing Johnson Government?

Mr Mundell failed this week in his duty to represent his constituents by voting against his own and their democratically-expressed beliefs. Many Conservative voters, as well as those from other parties, the non-aligned, and of course young first-time voters whose future rests on decisions taken by their representatives, looked on and noted how they will vote in the next Westminster election.

S Campbell, Moffat.

AS everyone knows, Scotland is a member of the United Kingdom and the UK in turn is a member of the European Union. Scotland is only a member of the EU due to our country being a part of the UK so this oft wrung-out overture that Scotland voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU is a misnomer or a red herring as someone of Ruth Marr’s intellect knows full well (Letters, September 5). The referendum on EU membership was a UK-wide vote not a nation by nation or region by region vote. She might as well claim that the workers in the local pie factory voted overwhelmingly to remain and that the workers behind the counter in the tuck shop voted to leave.

I am fed up hearing from the likes of Ian Blackford, Nicola Sturgeon el al claim that Scotland is being dragged out of the EU against its will. When will they realise that this argument would only stack up if Scotland had sole membership of the European Union?

Christopher H Jones, Giffnock.

WITH regard to the letter (September 5) from Gordon Bannatyne, in which it is argued that Britain should have adopted a tough stance with the EU right from the start, it begs the question – why? It is the disunited UK that wants to leave, not the EU ejecting anyone. As for the question “how did we manage before the EU was formed”?, there is a simple answer – “not very well”. I am old enough to remember the wonderful days when strikes were a weekly occurrence, lights went out or never went on, when the three-day-week was introduced, when there were few human rights, no wildlife directives, fishing was a catastrophe with species like herring almost wiped out, and an assortment of other failures bestowed on us all from the elite Old-Etonian ruling classes of arrogant England. Not forgetting their appointees the unelected Lords. Yes – how did we manage ?

Thankfully after joining the EU, the eyes of Scots and others were opened and intelligent laws passed, farming brought into the 20th century, fishing quotas introduced internationally, manufacturing industries co-operating across borders, free movement of people, many useful and necessary roadworks and bridges financed from monies paid in to the EU that would never have been handed out to many areas in Scotland and elsewhere.

Why also are the Brexiters so eager to leave the EU? The population of the UK is around 67 million, not the 17 million who voted to leave, meaning 15 million and the remaining millions eligible to vote, but who did not vote on a spurious right-wing pack of lies, require to remain.

Bernard Zonfrillo, Glasgow.

HOLYROOD is just not the same without Ruth Davidson. Already she is badly missed. The ongoing Brexit madness makes her loss even more acute.

The first exchanges between the pompous and prickly First Minister and Jackson Carlaw were only a shadow of what we have come to expect from the forensic and palpably honest Ruth Davidson. She was the champion of not only the Tories but of truth and all Scots and alone among opponents of the SNP could cause fear in the nationalist ranks and puncture regularly a few overblown egos.

Will you no’ come back again, Ruth?

Alexander McKay, Edinburgh EH6.

I WOULD like to point out that an election date on the week beginning October 14 will disenfranchise many Scottish voters.

This date falls during most Scottish school half-term holidays when many potential voters will be away from their local areas. It is unlikely that they will have the time to apply for a postal vote. This could have a significant effect on the results in Scotland.

Margaret McGregor, Aberdeen AB15.

MY mother had a saying she used to good effect. She had little time for people of some standing in the community who, when things were not to their liking, affected a pose of boredom at having to put up with the tiresome stupidity of his fellows. She would give a little shake of her head and in a brusque and dismissive tone of voice say, “ Hmph! The height of ignorance!”. Remind you of anyone? It was extraordinarily effective in cutting the poseur down to size.

A McDonald, Cambuslang.

À PROPOS Jacob Rees-Mogg lounging languidly like a lizard on the front benches, we should feel sorry for him – ruling 21st century Britain from the 18th century cannot be easy; and having been nurtured from birth by an army of nannies must have taken its toll. Perhaps he was just waiting for his nanny to tuck him in and remove that silver spoon of his from his mouth in case he hurt himself in his slumber. But all is not lost, because if "sleeping like a Mogg" passes into common parlance, then at least he will have served a purpose.

P Fabien, Glasgow.

RE the current Brexit-induced debate on sovereignty, it rests ultimately with the people, not Parliament. Otherwise there would be no need for elections; Parliament would simply renew itself perpetually. No doubt the many anti-democrats at Westminster would welcome that.

In other states' constitutions the sovereignty of the people is explicit. For example, the very first sentence of the German constitution, co-formulated by the UK after the Second World War, reads "Alle Macht geht vom Volk aus", all power resides with the people.

George Morton, Stuttgart, Germany.

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