A Tory MSP was ordered by MICHAEL Russell to hang his head in shame for being a “apologist” for a rotten Brexit agreement.
In a bad-tempered exchange at Holyrood, the Constitutional Affairs Minister lashed out at fellow Tory Dean Lockhart as the two clashed.
He accused Mr. Lockhart of making “ridiculous” and “complete perversion of the truth.” claims.
He told him, “You are an apologist for a terrible deal that will damage the Scottish economy and Scotland. You should hang your head in shame.”
Mr. Russell spoke about the Westminster law that would underpin the proposed U.K. trade agreement. The EU and from Jan. 1.
He said the EU (Future Relationship) Bill, which is also being discussed today in the House of Commons, should be rejected this afternoon by Holyrood.
Russell said the agreement would be “significantly and permanently” worse than remaining in the EU, and “absolutely shocking.” would be the effects on Scottish fishermen.
He added that on Monday night, SNP ministers had only obtained a draft of the bill, leaving too little time to fully consider it, and predicted that it would crumble in the coming days, like many British budgets.
By opposing the only offer on the table, Mr. Lockhart accused the SNP of making a “extraordinary U-turn” being the party of a no-deal Brexit by default.
Mr. Russell said that, given the misrepresentation therein, “probably not even worth responding to, given the misrepresentation in it.”
He said, “The reality of your question is based on a number of false premises, and I think you could really do better.”
He also denied the assertion by Mr. Lockhart that the deal had been lauded by many commentators.
“I’d rather take their word than yours, Cabinet Secretary.”I would rather take their word than yours, Cabinet Secretary.
Asked by Mr. Lockhart if the SNP opposed recent free trade agreements with non-EU countries such as Japan, Mr. Russell claimed that they were not fresh, but continuing agreements.
He said, “We did not vote against trade agreements. We made it clear that we are leaving and moving on from far better trade agreements.”
“If I may quote the French ambassador to the United States, who said it is hardly a service to free trade to leave the world’s largest free trade bloc,” he said.
Saying that we are in a way against trade per se because we are against giving up the benefits is a complete perversion of the facts,”It is a complete perversion of the truth to say that we are in a sense against trade per se because we are against giving up the benefits,”
“I think that’s the third time you’ve made that ridiculous point to me, and it’s the third time I’ve been happy to call it ridiculous.”
Asked if the SNP opposed new free trade deals, Russell said, “I’m not going to give you an answer, yes or no.” All you want to do is have an argument that can’t be justified.
If you can argue for the benefits of this deal for the Scottish fishermen, for the young people who are going to be badly affected, for the companies who are going to suffer, then you can argue for those benefits.
But if the agreement is so wonderful, why are you so mad at the people who vote against it?
Do you definitely want to take responsibility?
“This is an utterly horrible deal, you know. It’s a frightful deal. And you’re an apologist for an awful lot that’s going to hurt the Scottish economy and Scotland.
“You should hang your head in shame.”
Mr. Lockhart said he would follow the recommendations of leading company organizations instead.
Secretary to the Cabinet