Boris Johnson’s post-Brexit plan for Britain “shatters” the devolution settlement, SNP boss Ian Blackford claimed as he condemned the prime minister’s “yapping, bumbling and mumbling” defence of the proposals.
The fiery comments came at prime minister’s questions in response to the passage of the Internal Market Bill last night.
Mr Blackford said the provisions in the legislation, which give Westminster the power to spend in devolved areas and set standards, have “shattered” devolution”.
He said: “The Tory power grab bill breaks international law and is the biggest attack in the history of devolution – giving Westminster the power to overrule the Scottish Parliament on the NHS, education, transport, infrastructure and other crucial devolved areas.
“It’s no wonder that the overwhelming majority of people in Scotland do not trust the UK Government to act in Scotland’s interests – with levels of trust now at a record low.”
Mr Johnson said the Ross, Skye and Lochaber MP’s reading of the Bill was “completely wrong”, before talking about the UK Government’s success in lifting the ban on British beef exports to America.
Mr Blackford responded: “I don’t know what that was, but it certainly wasn’t an answer to the question, more yapping, bumbling, mumbling, but no answer.”
SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford is up at #PMQs , he raises the passage of the internal market bill last night saying it is the ‘biggest attack’ on Scottish Parliament in history of devolution
— Dan O'Donoghue (@MrDanDonoghue) September 30, 2020
He added: “Last night was a defining moment; if this attack on devolution fails to gain the consent of the devolved parliaments in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland, will the prime minister withdraw this legislation or force it through against our wishes?”
Mr Johnson responded: “I think he demonstrates once again that his ambition is simply to ferment grievance where no grievance should exist.
“All this Bill does is devolve power back from Brussels to Edinburgh, which he should welcome.
“This Bill protects jobs, protects growth, it protects trade in the United Kingdom, and that is the most important thing, and that’s why he should support it.”