Scottish ministers have described a UK Government move to abandon parts of the Northern Ireland protocol as “reckless”, due to the threat it could pose to Scotland’s interests.
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss announced legislation which would allow goods being imported to Northern Ireland from Britain to follow either UK or EU checks.
Previously, imports would have to undergo EU checks to cross the border.
Angus Robertson, External Affairs Secretary, has called for the UK Government to return to the negotiating table and warned that disregarding parts of the UK-EU withdrawal agreement could lead to a “trade war”.
He said: “It is extremely reckless and frustrating that the UK Government has decided to bring forward this legislation.
“The UK Government has deliberately set itself on an entirely avoidable collision course with the EU.
“Brexit is forecast to cause more harm to the economy than Covid, and this action by the UK Government could trigger significant additional damage to our economy when we are already facing the worst cost-of-living crisis seen for decades.”
Mr Robertson said Scotland has “direct interests” at stake in the protocol, in relation to trade and border control.
He has accused the UK Government of showing “no willingness” to engage with their Scottish counterparts on the issue.
On Monday, the Government said the legal position on the Northern Ireland protocol is justified under international law because of the “genuinely exceptional circumstances”.
The move was described as confrontational by Mr Robertson, who urged the UK Government to focus on dialogue with the EU.
He added: “We have repeatedly called for the UK Government to step back from this confrontational approach and focus instead on dialogue with our European partners, who stand willing to work in partnership to find a negotiated solution.
“Those calls have also been ignored.”
Mr Robertson added: “We urge the UK Government to return to the negotiating table and withdraw this Bill.
It is inconceivable to think that the Scottish Government would recommend legislative consent for a bill that would negatively impact Scotland’s economy, that could be deemed to break international law and could risk sparking a trade war with our fellow Europeans, which is in no-one’s interests.”