The people of Scotland have “no trust” in Boris Johnson or his Government, SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford has claimed.
Mr Blackford condemned the Internal Market Bill, describing it as the “biggest attack on our Scottish Parliament in the history of devolution”.
Mr Johnson’s controversial Brexit legislation, enabling the UK to break international law, cleared the House of Commons on Tuesday night.
Mr Johnson responded that the Bill “gives power back to Scotland” as he announced a lifting of the ban on British beef in America.
Another #PMQs and yet more lies and avoiding the question from @BorisJohnson, Scotland has become sick of it. The #InternalMarketBill is the biggest threat in the history of devolution and the latest in a long line of tory attacks on Scotland. Get ready, its nearly time #IndyRef2 pic.twitter.com/1HjTQe3b4Z
— Ian Blackford (@Ianblackford_MP) September 30, 2020
Speaking in the Commons during Prime Minister’s Questions, Mr Blackford asked the Prime Minister: “Why does he think the people of Scotland have no trust in him or his Government?”
He added: “Yesterday the Scottish social attitudes survey revealed that just 15% of people trust the UK Government to work in Scotland’s interests. Last night Scotland’s MPs voted overwhelmingly against the Tory ‘power grab bill’ but the Prime Minister forced it through anyway, in the biggest attack on our Scottish Parliament in the history of devolution.”
Mr Johnson replied: “I’m afraid that he’s completely wrong in what he says about the Internal Market Bill, and perhaps the people of Scotland deserve to hear a clearer account of what it does from him.
“After all, this Bill devolves – which is I believe is supported by the leader of the Opposition – power back down to, back to, Scotland, gives power back to Scotland. Enables Scotland not just to take back control of Scotland’s spectacular fisheries, but also opens markets for Scottish agriculture around the world.
“I may tell the House today is a historic day because, after 23 years in which every successive government has failed, this Government has managed to lift the ban on British beef in America and Scottish beef will be going to the US, thanks to the efforts of the British Government.”
Mr Blackford asked if the PM would withdraw the Internal Market Bill or “force it through against our wishes”.
He said: “A Tory Government that casually and arrogantly breaks international law and breaks devolution has shattered any remaining trust in this broken Westminster system.
“Last night was a defining moment. If this attack on devolution fails to gain the consent of the devolved parliaments in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland, will the Prime Minister withdraw this legislation, or will he force it through against our wishes?
“Isn’t the Prime Minister demonstrating, yet again, that the only way to defend our Parliament and its powers is by Scotland becoming an independent country?”
Mr Johnson replied: “(He) demonstrates once again that his ambition is simply to ferment grievance where no grievance should exist. All this Bill does, actually, is devolve power back from Brussels to Edinburgh, it gives powers back to Edinburgh, which he should welcome.
“But, more importantly than the powers, the people of this country aren’t really interested in wrangling between… what this Bill does is it protects jobs, it protects growth, it protects trade in the UK, and that is the most important thing and that’s why he should support it.”