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Alister Jack accused of trying to ‘silence Scotland’ leading on climate change

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SNP MP Chris Law said one of the most important issues to be discussed at the global climate summit, which begins in Dubai tomorrow, was the climate loss and damage fund which Scotland has led the way on.

But he said the Scottish Secretary and Tories “are intent on limiting the Scottish Government’s international engagement”.

Earlier this year it was reported of British diplomats were being ordered to keep an eye on SNP ministers when they take trips overseas.

READ MORE: Humza Yousaf set to represent Scotland at COP28 in Dubai

Speaking at Scotland questions in the House of Commons, Law asked: “Can the Secretary of State tell me why he wants to silence Scotland’s voice and prevent us from providing this global leadership?”

Jack replied that there was an understanding the Scottish Government would undertake environmental engagement overseas, adding “that is a devolved matter”.

He went on: “But what we have tried to get a grip on is the Scottish Government travelling overseas, meeting ministers, discussing reserved areas, constitutional affairs, discussing foreign affairs, and straying away from the portfolio of matters that are devolved to them. And that is our position.”

The Scottish Secretary was further quizzed on the issue by SNP MP Patrick Grady, who asked if he could clarify whether he believed it was legitimate for Scottish Government ministers to be able travel overseas to promote the work of the Scottish Government.

Jack replied: “I’ve always been very clear that Scottish Government ministers can go overseas and promote areas that are devolved.

READ MORE: SNP urge bold action on climate from UK Government ahead of COP28

“But in the reserved areas, like the constitution, and foreign affairs, that is a matter for the UK Government and they should not be using our embassies and our consulates to promote their plans for separation or their different views on the Middle East or anything else.”

Meanwhile SNP MP Pete Wishart said Jack has been on mission to “constrain and bypass the Scottish Parliament”, describing it as a “version of aggressive Unionism [which] has utterly failed”.

Jack responded: “I’m not entirely sure what I have done that has been a failure to be honest.

“This is the Government that protects devolution, we are protecting the settlement.

 “And if he refers to for instance the Section 35 order I used, that was in the Scotland Act in 1998, it was voted for at the time by SNP MPs and it is there to protect devolution when a devolved administration legislates in GB or UK matters. “

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