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The Prime Minister said Brexit would be a “huge opportunity” for Scotland and said his Government’s Internal Market Bill would involve the devolution of new powers including control over fisheries. But Edinburgh hit back with Michael Russell, Scotland’s Consultation and Brexit Secretary claiming a ‘no-deal’ would be disastrous for Scotland.
The Prime Minister added: “It seems absolutely incredible to me the SNP should actually be supporting a policy of you know, literally handing back control of Scottish fisheries to Brussels.
“Abandoning the future prospects of young people growing up in Scotland who have a great future in that industry.”
It comes after Mr Johnson and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen spoke via video conference on Saturday to take stock of progress in the negotiations following the final scheduled round of talks between Brussels and the UK last week.
Fishing rights, state aid and governance continue to be heated issues between the two sides as they look to ratify a new trading relationship before the transition period ends on December 31.
However in a statement this morning, Mr Russell added: “It is beyond belief that in the middle of a deep recession, Scottish firms still have no idea what their trading arrangements will be with the EU in less than three months’ time.”
Edinburgh also remains concerned Scotland’s fisheries have “no clarity” about future arrangements, warning “successive Westminster governments have sold out Scotland’s fishing industry”.
Mr Russell said the UK Government had limited ambitions stressing any agreement which is struck would put Scotland, its people and its economy, in a “substantially worse position than where we are now.”
He added: “Both a no-deal or a ‘low deal’ outcome will force the people of Scotland into a position for which they did not vote: out of the Single Market, out of the Customs Union and with the end of freedom of movement – hitting jobs, lives and living standards hard.
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“As a responsible Government, we will continue to do everything we can to mitigate against the consequences of the UK Government’s actions, pursued in the midst of a global pandemic.
“However we simply cannot avert every negative outcome.
“The Scottish Government view is clear: the best future for Scotland is to become an independent country.”
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Tensions between the two governments are already high over the new UK internal market legislation which will protect UK trade after the end of the transition period.
It is expected to eliminate the legal force of parts of the Brexit withdrawal agreement in areas including Northern Ireland customs and state aid as well as give Westminster final veto powers on certain devolved laws if they are a threat to UK trade.
However, the SNP led administration warned the new laws would force Scotland to accept new standards on food, environment and animal welfare agreed by the UK Government as well as undermine the devolved government’s authority.
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