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SNP's Ian Blackford blasted for using Brexit Bill as independence 'recruiting sergeant'

The SNP’s Westminster leader told Channel 4 News host Cathy Newman the Government is trying to undermine the Scottish Parliament and the will of the Scottish people who voted for their devolved MSPs in Scotland with its latest Brexit Internal Market Bill. But the Channel 4 News host accused Mr Blackford of using Boris Johnson’s plan to further his party’s agenda for an independent Scotland. Mr Blackford was also confronted on the fact that if Scotland were to rejoin the EU, his Govenrment would not be able to decide on how EU funds were spent in his own country. 

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Ms Newman said: “The Bill allows for money that was held by the EU and unelected commissioners to come back to Westminster, where you have representation.”

To which the SNP politician replied: “The spending that takes place in Scotland today with EU funds, like in the CEP for example, like in regional funding, is determined by the priorities of the Scottish Government on behalf of the people of Scotland.

“This is the Government that says they’re going to go over the heads of the Scottish Parliament, over the heads of the MSPs that we elect, and Westminster will determine the priorities of spending in Scotland.”

The Channel 4 News host rebutted: “But you can argue the toss over that in there where you’ve got a seat. You can’t do that in the EU with these commissioners.”

READ MORE: Forget EU law – Britain to get ‘billions of pound of investment’

Mr Blackford finally admitted: “The point is, Westminster is going to determine what happens with spending on roads and infrastructure in Scotland.

“We cannot have this. People in Scotland voted for a parliament with powers over devolved areas which Westminster is now going to legislate against.

“My message to the people of Scotland is if you want to stop Boris Johnson and Cummings and Gove – these are the three people behind this – the only way we can do that is to make sure we have the powers of that independent Scotland.”

To which Ms Newman blasted: “Ah, there we get to the crux of it. You’re actually using this as a recruiting sergeant for your independence cause to break up the Union!”

As the SNP politician attempted to justify his outburst, Speaker Hoyle added: “Mr Blackford, you’re a respected member of this House.

“You’ll do the right thing by this House and I’ve accepted that you’ve withdrawn it.”

Mr Blackford branded the UK Internal Market Bill proposals “nothing short of an attack on Scotland’s Parliament and an affront to the people of Scotland”.

He said: “This legislation breaks international law, but it also breaks domestic law. The Prime Minister and his friends… are creating a rogue state, one where the rule of law does not apply. Why does the PM think that he and his friends are above the law?

Mr Johnson replied: “This UK Internal Market Bill is about protecting jobs, protecting growth, ensuring the fluidity and safety of our UK internal market and prosperity throughout the UK and it should be welcomed, I believe, in Scotland, in Northern Ireland, in Wales and throughout the whole country.”

Mr Blackford said: “We saw the PM breaking the law last year with the prorogation of Parliament, we’ve seen the behaviour of Dominic Cummings and we know that this Government’s prepared to break its international obligations and what the Prime Minister said is complete rubbish and the Prime Minister knows this.”



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