SNP told to 'stop talking UK down' by Graham Stuart
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Nicola Sturgeon has been told to get behind British exporters and stop “talking them down” by a minister. Graham Stuart, the minister for exports, urged the SNP to stop moaning and “support the trade deals that we do, to open markets around the world”. During a heated row in the Commons on Thursday, Mr Stuart hit back after Kenny MacAskill, who quit the SNP for Alex Salmond’s Alba Party, complained about the impact of Brexit on trade.
Mr Stuart pointed out that UK exports to the EU were “back to pre-pandemic levels”.
Mr MacAskill said: “Food production businesses in my constituency face a loss of trade. They face challenges with customs and damage to their supply chains.
“They need to operate in today’s land, not some promised land that the business might not survive to be able to see.
“What is the minister going to do to ensure that their difficulties are minimised? They need butter today, not the promise of jam tomorrow.”
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Mr Stuart first mocked Mr MacAskill’s defection from the SNP, as he attacked Scottish nationalists for being “splitters even amongst themselves”.
He continued: “Well, they would be very much helped if the Scottish Government and the SNP, of which he used to be a member, were to support the trade deals that we do, to open markets around the world.
“He ought to know, as his former colleagues should know, that Scotland trades more with the rest of the world than it does with the EU.
“He will also note that that EU volumes are back to their highest level in May since October 2019 – so we are back to pre-pandemic levels with the EU.
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“The teething problems are being dealt with. It’s about time the SNP, who like to chunder from a sedentary position, got behind their exports and stopped talking them down.”
Figures from the Office of National Statistics said goods exports to the European Union, excluding precious metals, rose to £14billion pounds in May.
The figures if almost twice as high as in January.
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Earlier this week, Liz Truss told Parliament that she was “proud the UK is leading the way in liberalising trade, striking new trade deals to bring new jobs and growth as we seek to build back better after Covid”.
This comes as a UK minister urged Nicola Sturgeon to “start being upfront about the impact of some of their policies”.
Kevin Foster said if the SNP secured Scottish independence and EU membership, Scotland would need to build a “great wall of Gretna” at the English border.
The UK immigration minister said independence would necessitate the construction of a hard border.
Around 60 percent of Scottish exports go to the rest of the UK – more than three times the value of those that go to the EU.
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