The Secretary of State for Scotland, Alister Jack, has “clearly and demonstrably” misled the House of Commons about Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme, say the Scottish Greens.
This comes as Scottish Green MSP Ross Greer has written to both the Speaker of the House of Commons, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, and Cabinet Secretary Simon Case, calling for an investigation into previous statements made by Mr Jack.
The letter highlights in particular Mr Jack’s claim in the Commons on 22nd February that no request had yet been received from the Scottish Government despite a ‘final detailed proposal’ having been submitted more than a week previously.
In a letter to Sir Lindsay Hoyle, Greer wrote:
“It is abundantly clear that Mr Jack’s attempts to convince the House of Commons that the Scottish Government had not sought an Internal Market Act exemption until March of this year is simply and categorically untrue.
“It is my firm belief that Mr Jack and his Government have used the Brexit process to give themselves a new power of veto over the decisions of Scotland’s elected Parliament via the Internal Market Act.
“This is a direct attack on Scotland’s democracy.
“Whilst the wider political points are of course not a matter for the Speaker, I would urge you to urgently investigate the situation I have described and outline and ask what action you will take in response to Mr Jack misleading the House of Commons.”
In the letter to Simon Case, the most senior civil servant in Whitehall, Greer asked for confirmation “that neither a formal nor an official request for an exclusion from the Internal Market Act is required.”
Ross Greer said:
“When it comes to the Deposit Return Scheme this Tory minister has misled MPs, businesses and the public.
“Right from the start Alister Jack has abused his position in a partisan and opportunistic bid to block the progress Scotland is making.
“We cannot let these mistruths continue.
“It’s bad enough that the Tories have used Brexit to give themselves this new power of veto over the Scottish Parliament, but to mislead the public about it is simply outrageous.
“Much of what Mr Jack has said is categorically untrue and he knows it.
“There is no requirement for an ‘official’ or ‘formal’ request for exemption, he has simply made up a new process as some kind of sad power play against the Scottish Government.
“It would however be deeply worrying if he has done so with the permission of others in the UK Government, implying that they have in fact unilaterally rewritten an agreed process without informing the Scottish Government.
“The reality is that the Tories have shown a total contempt for our environment and for Scotland’s democracy and have turned to misdirection and distortion to cover it up.”