Michael Gove has accused the SNP of being prepared to throw Scottish farmers “under the bus” in pursuit of their “desperate desire” to secure independence.
The Environment Secretary took aim at the SNP amid mounting frustration from the Westminster Government over disagreements with their Scottish counterparts on key Brexit legislation.
Welsh ministers have agreed a compromise deal linked to the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill but the Scottish Government has yet to consent to the legislation, which transfers EU law into UK law.
Fears of a “power grab” were raised after the Bill outlined that some responsibilities would be returned to Westminster, instead of Edinburgh or Cardiff, to enable common frameworks to be put in place across the UK.
The UK Government has since proposed a “sunset clause” to ensure devolved powers returned to Westminster do not stay there indefinitely, although concerns remain at Holyrood.
Speaking in the Commons, SNP MP Patrick Grady (Glasgow North) said: “I don’t think anyone disagrees that there might be a need for common frameworks, but I don’t think they’d either disagree that democratic decisions by democratically elected parliaments are artificial barriers.
“So will the minister guarantee that no frameworks will be imposed across the UK without the democratic consent of the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly?”
Mr Gove replied: “Well it’s a good try from the member for Glasgow North.
“He knows that the stark contrast between the constructive approach of the Labour administration in Cardiff and the obstructive approach of the nationalist administration in Holyrood does not redound to the credit of the Scottish National Party.
“The truth is with the SNP they have only one policy - that is separation, everything is tactics and they’re prepared to throw Scottish farmers under the bus - or indeed the bandwagon - in their desperate desire to elevate the destruction of the United Kingdom above the creation of wealth for the people of Scotland.”