SNP 'wants Scotland to be poorer' with opposition to Brexit Bill

The SNP have been criticised for “false flags” in their opposition to the Internal Market Bill and accused of wanting Scotland to be poorer.

Sunday, 11th October 2020, 7:00 am
Andrew Bowie has accused the SNP of not caring if Scotland was poorer
Andrew Bowie has accused the SNP of not caring if Scotland was poorer

Tory MP Andrew Bowie claimed the controversial Brexit legislation was "vital" for Scotland's businesses, and suggested Holyrood was only opposing it because it showed the benefits of remaining in the UK.

Writing in today's Scotland on Sunday, the West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine MP claimed the objections were just playing politics.

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He said: “It’s nothing to do with the false flags they are raising about threats to demutualise Scottish water (it doesn’t) or privatise the NHS (nope). They object because this Bill will allow the UK Government, for the first time since devolution, to spend directly on specific projects in Scotland.

“They object because the UK Government giving a much-needed boost to our cash strapped local authorities might shine a light on how poorly they’ve been treated under the centralising, separatist government in Edinburgh.

“They object because it will demonstrate the relevance of the United Kingdom Government to the Scottish people.”

The Bill has already been passed by the House of Commons, but this week MPSs voted against granting legislative consent by 90 to 28 - a move that will not stop the UK Government pressing ahead with it.

Scottish Government ministers had branded it a “power grab”, as well as insisting it broke international law.

Mr Bowie today dismissed their concerns and warned the negativity formed part of the SNP’s latest refusal to work with the UK.

He said: “This week we have seen the Scottish Government refuse to engage with the UK Government’s connectivity review.

“The SNP would rather that Scotland was poorer if it meant that the United Kingdom Government had less power. That is the truth of it. And what a miserable policy to hold.”

Mr Bowie said the Bill was “necessary”, hailing it as the “most important piece of legislation since the Scotland Act 1999”.

He explained: “We want to level up, to unite, for the good of businesses and the people of the UK - all of the UK.

“And this Bill, this Internal Market Bill, is just the start. The UK Government is back in Scotland. Get used to it.”

SNP shadow Scotland secretary Mhairi Black MP dismissed his claims and insisted the legislation broke the law.

She said: “The Tories' law-breaking Internal Market Bill - backed by Scottish Tory MPs - will not only rob the devolved governments of powers over devolved matters and hoard them in Westminster, it will also signal a race to the bottom in food and environmental standards and damage our world-leading industries, including food and agriculture.

"Rather than standing up for Scotland's interests and industries and preventing the biggest power grab against the devolved Parliaments, the supine Scottish Tory MPs - led by Douglas Ross - are once again demonstrating their well-practised routine of simply following the wishes of their Westminster bosses no matter what.”

The Bill has been received disastrously in Brussels, where EU officials are now considering legal action against the UK Government.

The EU claims the Internal Market Bill “flagrantly” violates the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland as it allows UK authorities to disregard the legal effect of the protocol's substantive provisions under the Withdrawal Agreement.

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