Tory conference

Jack attacks SNP-Green ‘abuse of devolution’

Alister Jack

AlisterJack: confident in Scotland’s future as part of a strong UK

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack today accused the SNP-Green coalition of abusing devolution, saying that it acts “like a drag-anchor on Scotland’s potential.”

In an address to the Scottish Conservative Party Conference in Glasgow, he reaffirmed his determination to invoke Section 35 of the Scotland Act to prevent the SNP’s controversial Gender Recognition (Reform) Bill from becoming law because of its impact on the rest of the UK. 

He said: “I am disappointed Humza Yousaf has seen fit to challenge my decision in the Court of Session, but be in no doubt that the UK Government will robustly defend the decision that I took back in January.”  

He added he was pleased the new First Minister agreed with his assessment that the SNP-Green “dog’s dinner” deposit return scheme should be paused for a major overhaul. 

“I hope we can now work together on a better solution that works for businesses and consumers across the UK, while achieving environmental goals,” he said.  

Mr Jack, who was speaking virtually because of Coronation commitments in London, highlighted Scotland’s two new Freeports as a prime example of what can be achieved when the governments at Westminster and Edinburgh work together. 

He said the UK Government’s Levelling Up Agenda is  “devolution in action”, delivering positive change for Scottish communities with £2.3billion direct investment – on top of record funding for the Scottish Government – in everything from a community buy-out of a remote pub in Knoydart to a new ferry to serve Fair Isle. 

“The SNP-Green coalition’s opposition to, and abuse of, devolution act like a drag-anchor on Scotland’s potential,” he warned. 

“I will keep my focus on what people really care about – strengthening our economy for the future and supporting communities.” 

He added: “I am more confident than ever that people see Scotland’s future as being at the heart of a strong UK, with devolution firing on all cylinders.” 

Mr Jack’s address to delegates at Glasgow’s SEC could not be delivered in person as he was in London for official duties relating to the arrival at Westminster Abbey of the Stone of Scone.  

The Stone of Destiny set off from Edinburgh Castle on Thursday and will play a pivotal role in the Coronation of King Charles III next weekend.

On its return to Scotland, the Stone will be the centrepiece of a new museum at Perth City Hall, funded in part by £10million from the UK Government. 

Mr Yousaf today marked one month since becoming leader of the SNP by saying: “There is no doubt that the last few weeks have been challenging for the SNP.

“Yet, our party membership is on the rise, support for independence remains strong and the SNP continues to lead by some distance in the polls.
“We don’t take that support for granted, which is why the SNP is doing everything we can to protect Scots from the brunt of heartless Westminster policy, despite having one hand tied behind our back.”

See also:

Sunak: no more powers for Scottish parliament

How PM’s media huddle became party muddle

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