‘Reckless Brexit’ SNP spark constitutional row after being ‘shut out’ of trade deal talks

Emily Thornberry says Liz Truss is ‘like Johnson in a blue dress’

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The deal was announced in July and spearheaded by Liz Truss, former International Trade Secretary who was recently promoted to Foreign Secretary by Prime Minister Boris Johnson. In a letter to the House of Lords European Affairs Committee, the SNP-led Scottish Government criticised the UK Government’s level of engagement with the devolved administrations.

The letter also claims there was no consultation on the negotiation process, nor on the crucial detail relating to tariffs and access to the goods market by the UK Government.

Written by Scotland’s Trade Minister Ivan McKee, the Scottish Government minister claims trade with Norway and Iceland in particular, was “important to Scotland.”

The MSP stressed in the letter: “That trading relationship was put at risk by the UK Government’s reckless approach to Brexit.

“That approach meant that this agreement effectively tried to replicate the level of market access we enjoyed previously as members of the EU, but could not do so, leaving Scottish businesses at a disadvantage compared to their EU competitors.”

 

Mr McKee claimed the Scottish Government should have a role in “all stages of trade negotiations.”

He added: “That did not happen in this case, with the result that we were not involved in any of the crucial detail relating to tariffs and goods market access.”

Under the deal which is due to be fully ratified by the UK Parliament, tariffs of up to 277 percent on cheese exported from the UK are set to be cut.

The UK Government also says the deal will allow caps on roaming charges and simpler visa processes for highly skilled workers.

 

The agreement overall would boost a trading relationship worth £21.6 billion last year.

Referring to the UK, Mr McKee also claimed Scotland had been a “subdivision of an under-performing corporate management team for too long”.

In remarks, he claimed Scotland would be better off “running ourselves” by gaining independence than being part of “this poorly performing larger business [of the UK].”

But Liz Smith MSP, Scottish Tory finance spokesperson, said: “This SNP Minister is typically refusing to acknowledge the support the UK has provided to Scotland over the course of the pandemic.

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“The furlough scheme protected over a million jobs and the overwhelming success of the UK’s vaccination scheme has allowed us to accelerate our recovery.

“Over £14 billion has been given to the Scottish Government by the UK Government to support us through the Covid crisis.

“That isn’t the performance of a struggling business.

“Ivan McKee should be fully focused on our recovery from Covid, rather than talking up the prospect of independence yet again.”

A UK Government source said: “UK trade policy benefits every part of the UK.”

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