Boris Johnson has ‘hostile agenda’ on devolution, SNP’s Ian Blackford claims

“The decisions of the Scottish Parliament must and will be decided by the Scottish people,” Blackford said.

The UK Government has a “hostile agenda” against devolution, SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford said.

Mr Blackford criticised the Government’s proposals to bring forward legislation for state aid laws to remain a reserved power of the Westminster Government after Brexit, despite SNP calls for it to be devolved.

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson responded by attacking the SNP’s pro-EU stance.

During PMQs, Mr Blackford said: “Tomorrow (Thursday) this Tory Government will publish legislation for its biggest power grab since the Scottish people voted overwhelmingly for the Scottish Parliament in 1997.

“Westminster’s plan to impose an unelected, unaccountable body to rule on decisions made by the Scottish Parliament will not be accepted.

“The decisions of the Scottish Parliament must and will be decided by the Scottish people.”

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Mr Johnson said: “On the contrary, what we are doing is possibly the biggest single act of devolution to Scotland, to Wales, to Northern Ireland, in modern memory and he should be celebrating the 70 powers or more that are going to be transferred to the elected people in Scotland." (Photo by BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images)

Responding, Mr Johnson said: “On the contrary, what we are doing is possibly the biggest single act of devolution to Scotland, to Wales, to Northern Ireland, in modern memory and he should be celebrating the 70 powers or more that are going to be transferred to the elected people in Scotland.

“What he wants, by contrast, is trade barriers between England and Scotland, nobody able to use (Pounds) Sterling in Stirling.

“He talks about unelected and unaccountable people. What he wants to do is hand the powers that we would give back to Scotland from this Parliament to Brussels.”

Mr Blackford replied: “The document we’re going to see tomorrow (Thursday) is going to talk about the benefits of a (UK) single market.

Mr Blackford criticised the Government’s proposals to bring forward legislation for state aid laws to remain a reserved power of the Westminster Government after Brexit, despite SNP calls for it to be devolved. (Photo by ISABEL INFANTES/AFP via Getty Images)

“It’s a pity that the Prime Minister doesn’t understand the economic value of the European single market and customs union.

“This Prime Minister often states the need to respect referendum results, then he should respect the decision taken by the Scottish people in 1997.

“We know this Government is undertaking a full-scale assault on devolution.

“A Brexit settlement Scotland rejected imposed on Scotland. An immigration system Scotland rejected imposed on Scotland. A decade of Tory government Scotland rejected imposed on Scotland.

“It is no wonder the First Minister’s (Nicola Sturgeon) approval ratings are three-times that of this Prime Minister – effective leadership and respecting the will of the people, contrasted with the bumbling shambles coming from Westminster.

“Scotland has the right to have our decisions made by those we elect, not bureaucrats appointed by Westminster. Will the Prime Minister guarantee that his plans will not be imposed on Scotland, that Scotland will have the chance to choose for ourselves?”

Mr Johnson replied: “It sounds extraordinary for him to attack unelected bureaucrats for any role they may have in Scotland when his proposal is to hand back the powers that… this place is going to be transferring to Scotland back to Brussels where they are neither elected nor accountable to the people of Scotland, so I really don’t know what he means.

“As for his point about respecting referendum results, I think the House will recall there was a referendum on Scottish independence, on the issue of breaking up the union, in 2014.

“They said at the time that it was going to be a once in a generation event. I think they should keep their promises to the people of this country and to the people of Scotland.”

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