31 Oct 2018
Pete Wishart MP has today conceded that there is no power grab from the Scottish Parliament in an extraordinary exchange in the Scottish Affairs Committee.
Wishart, who is Chair of the Scottish Affairs Committee was talking to George Eustice MP, Minister of State at Defra about the Agriculture Bill. The Scottish Government is refusing to grant Legislative Consent for the Bill, arguing that it would ‘ride roughshod’ over the devolution settlement by giving UK Ministers powers in devolved areas.
During the session, Pete Wishart asked the Minister: “On the power grab…can I maybe help and see if you agree with this? The power grab isn’t about taking powers away from the Scottish Parliament, nobody has ever ever said that.”
Senior SNP politicians including the First Minister, Brexit Secretary Michael Russell MSP and Leader of the SNP in Westminster Ian Blackford MP have repeatedly claimed that the UK Government were seeking to take powers away from the Scottish Parliament.
This latest intervention from one of the nationalists most senior politicians contradicts the power grab claim and exposes the Scottish Government’s disagreement as an attempt to manufacture a grievance.
Speaking after the Committee meeting, Vice-Chair John Lamont MP said:
“This was an absolutely astonishing admission from one of the SNP’s most senior politicians. The SNP have repeatedly claimed that after Brexit powers would be taken away from the Scottish Parliament and for Pete Wishart to say otherwise is clearly rubbish.
“Either Mr Wishart hasn’t been paying attention to anything the First Minister and his colleagues have been saying the past 18 months or he has let the cat out the bag and admitted the SNP knew all along that their power grab is nothing more than grievance mongering.
“What is welcome is that the Chair of the Scottish Affairs Committee has finally accepted the truth. Not a single power will be taken away from the Scottish Parliament when we leave the EU. In fact a whole raft of powers will go straight to Holyrood. It is time the First Minister admitted this and dropped her attempts to grandstand over Brexit.”