MHAIRI Black has called for Scotland to “get the same concessions” as Northern Ireland after Michael Gove praised the latest agreement struck there.
The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster said businesses in Northern Ireland would get the “best of both worlds” after he secured a deal giving it access to both the EU and UK markets. Gove said the deal ensures there will be no additional tariffs for businesses.
The comments sparked a backlash as people queried why the other UK nations – including Scotland where 62% of people voted to Remain – do not have the “best of both worlds”.
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In the Commons, Black asked the Scottish Secretary about the comments.
“Does he [Jack] feel that the announcement yesterday from the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster that Northern Ireland will have the best of both worlds, meaning Northern Ireland will still have access to both EU and UK markets after Brexit, does he feel that this has undermined his claims about the Internal Market Bill?”
Jack replied: “Not remotely, what we’ve delivered is unfettered access. We promised unfettered access at the time of the Withdrawal Agreement and we’ve delivered it.”
Black went on: “Will he now make the case for Scotland to get the same concessions and, like his predecessor, will he consider his position if no such request is granted?”
Jack responded: “Through the fortunate position of Scotland being part of the UK, it doesn’t have a land border that it needs to worry about; with Northern Ireland the situation is different, it’s special circumstances and we’ve resolved the problem as we promised we would.”
Boris Johnson is set to meet with Ursula Von Der Leyen in Brussels later in an effort to secure a last-ditch EU trade agreement ahead of the end of the transition period on December 31.
It comes amid news Downing Street has set up a “nightmare scenario” unit to look at the challenges of a No-Deal Brexit, a post-Christmas surge in Covid cases and winter flooding.
Downing Street officials are reportedly privately accepting that a No-Deal exit would lead to widespread disruption.