DAVID Mundell is to read the Riot Act to the chiefs of Royal Bank of Scotland over their controversial plan to close a raft of bank branches across the UK, including 62 north of the border.

The meeting today in Edinburgh between the Scottish Secretary and Les Matheson, Chief Executive of the bank’s Personal and Business Banking division, comes as calls were made for the finance house to "think again" about its branch closure plan.

And it was announced Scottish MPs are to quiz Mr Matheson and other senior bank executives on the issue in the New Year.

Last week, outrage met RBS’s announcement, that it planned to close 259 branches - one in four of its outlets – which will mean the closure of 62 RBS and 197 NatWest branches. Some 680 jobs will go as a result; 158 in Scotland.

The plan will mean a third of the bank’s branches north of the border will close.

RBS, 71 per cent owned by the taxpayer, said the decision reflected the trend of more people using online banking. It pointed out that the use of its branches by customers had fallen 40 per cent since 2014.

But the Unite union, which represents bank staff, denounced the move as “morally bankrupt” while politicians, particularly those representing rural Scottish constituencies, expressed anger.

During Scottish Questions in the Commons, Mr Mundell told MPs it was “not good enough for RBS to say that people can rely on internet and mobile banking when so many people in Scotland do not have access to the internet or effective mobile services”.

He went on: “When I meet the Royal Bank tomorrow, I will convey the concerns from across the House about its programme of closures.”

A source close to the Secretary of State, whose own Dumfriesshire constituency is set to lose six branches, later said: “He will convey the anger felt by people across rural Scotland at these closures. His feeling is it is simply not good enough for a bank that is trying to promote itself as Scotland’s bank to withdraw so many branches from parts of the nation.”

Ian Blackford, the SNP leader at Westminster, also expressed disquiet, stressing how the UK Government had an important role to play given the bank was in large part owned by the public.

“They have a responsibility because this is about the removal of banking services in communities throughout the UK without an alternative mechanism being put in place. As the majority shareholder it has a responsibility to make it clear to RBS that it has a duty of care to its customers and it cannot do this. RBS have got to think again and we are not going to let this go.”

The Highland MP suggested the SNP would be seeking a Commons debate on the issue.

Speaking ahead of the bank executives appearing before the Commons Scottish Affairs Committee early next year, its chairman, Pete Wishart said: “RBS’s decision to close over 60 branches will have a serious impact on the people of Scotland and may leave some rural communities without a local bank.

“We will want to hear from RBS how such cuts can be justified by a bank that the UK Government, and therefore the taxpayer, still owns the majority stake in. We will reserve the right to extend this short inquiry if we feel we do not secure satisfactory responses; we are therefore also hoping to hear from the Government and if necessary from Ross McEwan, Chief Executive of RBS,” added the Perth MP.