Scottish Secretary David Mundell has urged Nicola Sturgeon to stop “politicking” over Brexit as he warned that the threat of indyref2 was already harming business more than Brexit
Mr Mundell also suggested a UK-wide Brexit agreement would be flexible enough to take into account issues that apply specifically to Scotland.
After an appearance in front of Holyrood’s Europe and External Affairs Committee, Mr Mundell referred to a report by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors which showed Scotland experienced the largest drop in demand for commercial property in the UK in the three months following the independence vote.
The report said Scottish surveyors blamed the fall on the indyref2 threat saying it was having a “more detrimental effect” on the market than Brexit itself.
Mr Mundell said: “It is already evident, because I understand that the surveyors organisation have said there is a drop off in the take up of commercial property in Scotland.
When they have surveyed to see why that is the case people have cited the independence referendum rather than Brexit.
It is just adding to uncertainty. It is not helpful. If the first minister had been listening to people in Scotland, she wouldn’t have been having this consultation at all.
Hopefully it is a genuine consultation and not just hundreds of thousands of Yes supporters writing in to say what a great idea it is.
At the end of that consultation there will be an understanding that people in Scotland are scunnered with all this constitutional wrangling and just want to get on firstly with the day and job.
Which as today’s health statistics show is sadly wanting and to work together with the UK to get the best possible deal in the Brexit negotiations.”
Looking ahead to the Brexit negotiations, the Scottish Secretary said the talks were “probably one of the most complicated negotiations that have ever taken place”.
He said: “My one message to the Scottish Government is that it is time to end the politicking and put our joint shoulders to the wheel and get on with the actual job of negotiating.
Let’s have agreed positions on what the needs of Scotland are – the agricultural and fisheries communities, the higher education sector, what are we wanting by way of environmental regulations, what do we want for the energy industry. I think the time for politicking is over and it is time to get the shoulder to the wheel and get on with the hard work of negotiating.”
Mr Mundell also attempted to allay fears that the UK Government’s insistence on a UK-wide Brexit deal would mean Scotland losing out.
He said: “Issues and concerns that may apply specifically to Scotland can be incorporated in a UK wide agreement so if there was to be some specific point in relation to say fisheries that related to Scotland that wasn’t applicable across the rest of the UK (I am giving that as an example and not a definitive item) that sort of thing could be reflected.”