John Swinney accuses UK government of ‘turf war’

Swinney insists UK government interfered in Scottish trade missions during the referendum campaign. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
Swinney insists UK government interfered in Scottish trade missions during the referendum campaign. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
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JOHN Swinney has accused the UK government of mounting a turf war over Scotland’s global relations with major trading giants like Brazil.

The Deputy First Minister said the UK government’s Scotland Office muscled in on Scottish trade missions during the referendum campaign, but added “no value” to talks.

The claims were last night branded “factually inaccurate” by the Edinburgh-based department which insisted the Brazil mission was a major success.

The Scotland Office recently commissioned a review into support for Scottish exports from government.

It found potential for overlap between Scottish Development International (SDI) and its Westminster counterpart UK Trade & Industry (UKTI).

But Mr Swinney told Holyrood’s Europe committee yesterday that SDI and UKTI have a good relationship.

“We had a trade mission set up to go to Brazil and then the secretary of state decided to have one too,” the SNP minister said. “There has been a little bit of history, particularly in the run-up to the referendum, where the Scotland Office were keen to establish themselves on some of this territory.”

But a Scotland Office spokesman said: “These comments are factually inaccurate and fail to reflect the huge amount of work the UK government does to promote Scottish exporting.”

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