BBC's Maitlis shuts down Ian Blackford as SNP 'stacks up grievances' with independence bid


    The SNP’s Ian Blackford hit out at Prime Minister Boris Johnson for having a “hostile agenda” against devolution in Commons yesterday. 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. The BBC Newsnight host said: “You know Ian that a lot of people will say this is all part of a grievance accountancy, that you are stacking them up to advance your cause for independence because the more unhappy the people of Scotland feel, the more likely they are to vote for you.”

    Speaking on the show, Mr Blackford responded: “I can give you an assurance that is not the case.

    “It is about genuine anger about the powers the Parliament has to legislate on devolved areas which has now been interefered with.

    “That is not acceptable. That’s not respect from Westminster.

    “I understand that we would accept that there would have to be framework agreements. We will work constructively to assure that.”

    READ MORE: Brexit LIVE: Sturgeon to be handed post-Brexit trade powers

    Ms Mailtis added: “That is your voice. You are the voice for the SNP in Westminster. You get around the table and use your voice for this.”

    It comes as extra powers are being promised for Holyrood, Cardiff Bay and Stormont under the UK Government’s plans for dealing with Brexit.

    Measures that were previously regulated by the European Union will return to the UK at the end of the year when the transition period expires.

    Responsibilities in 160 policy areas – including animal welfare, public procurement rules and environmental regulations – will now go to one or more of the devolved administrations.

    The way the Government is handling the return of powers from Brussels has already provoked a row with Nicola Sturgeon’s administration in Scotland after it was revealed that Whitehall will assume control of the state aid regime.

    The proposed changes – set out in a white paper being published on Thursday for a four-week consultation – will see Northern Ireland receive responsibility in 157 of the 160 areas, Scotland in 111 and Wales in 70.

    As this could lead to different regulatory regimes in the UK the Government has drawn up plans for the “internal market” to ensure seamless trade between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

    At the heart of the plans are the principles of mutual recognition – so regulations in one part of the UK are recognised in all the other nations – and non-discrimination, providing a “level playing field” for companies across the UK.


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    The plans were compared by officials to the systems governing trade between the states and territories of Australia and the cantons in Switzerland.

    Officials said that without these actions a Welsh lamb producer could end up unable to sell their meat in Scotland, or Scotch Whisky producers could lose access to supply from English barley farmers.

    Business Secretary Alok Sharma said: “Without these necessary reforms, the way we trade goods and services between the home nations could be seriously impacted, harming the way we do business within our own borders.”

    The UK Government highlighted the importance of the measures to jobs and livelihoods – Scottish sales of produce to the rest of the UK are worth £52.1 billion a year and account for 60 percent of exports, 50 percent of Northern Ireland’s sales are to Great Britain and 75 percent of Welsh exports are to the other parts of the UK.


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