SNP MP stunned over Scotland post-Brexit trade future in Commons row – ‘UK more important’

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The SNP MP confronted Mr Barclay, former Brexit Secretary now Treasury Minister, over Scotland’s trading future, claiming Brexit will be damaging for his nation. He said: “In his spending review last week, the Chancellor failed to even mention Brexit. But the OBR were not quite so shy and indeed they painted a particularly bleak picture. So can the Minister clarify does he accept the findings of the OBR and does he therefore agree that the economic future of Scotland is going to be detrimentally impacted by any Brexit on the watch of this Tory Government?”

But the Tory Minister promptly hit back: “What all our economic analyses have always shown is that Scotland’s trade with the rest of the United Kingdom is much more important than its trade with Europe.

“But we’ve always been clear on these benches that we seek a deal.

“The asks that the negotiating team have put forward are extremely reasonable.

“And Lord Frost and the team continue to work to that effect.”

The Commons clash comes as Nicola Sturgeon ramped up her demands for a second independence referendum in Scotland. 

Speaking at the SNP annual conference on Monday, Ms Sturgeon claimed independence is “essential” to help with the task of rebuilding Scotland after coronavirus.

Scotland’s First Minister said she will use next May’s Holyrood election to try to win a mandate to hold an independence referendum “in the early part of the new Parliament”.

While her opponents have criticised her for speaking about the issue during the pandemic, the SNP leader said in her closing speech to her party’s conference on Monday: “Independence is not a distraction from the task of post-Covid reconstruction.

“It is essential to getting it right.”

She said this is important “if we want to make sure the country we rebuild is the one we want it to be, with kindness, compassion, fairness, equality and enterprise at its heart, and not one built in the image of Boris Johnson and his band of Brexiteers”.

The First Minister said she accepts “many” Scots would “prefer a stronger Scottish Parliament to independence” but said the “hard truth” is this is not on offer from Westminster, as she accused the Tories of trying to take powers away from Holyrood.

With the UK’s Brexit transition period due to finish at the end of December, she criticised the UK Government for not extending it.

She claimed Brexit would be a “huge, damaging change at the best of times” but added that in “these most difficult of times it is unforgivable”.

The First Minister said the UK Government’s Internal Market Bill, setting out how trade between the four nations of the UK will operate post-Brexit, is a “Trojan Horse that will allow Westminster to work its way into the very heart of the devolution settlement”.

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She said the “choice for Scotland is pressing” as the Holyrood election approaches, asking people: “Are we prepared to have the powers we voted for stripped away – at a time when we need them most?

“Are we prepared for our Scottish Parliament to be undermined and dragged down by Westminster?

“Or will we decide to make our Scottish Parliament independent?”

Ms Sturgeon said she will use that election to seek voters’ authority for a second independence referendum – something the Prime Minister has repeatedly said he will not grant.

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