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SNP accuse UK Government of undermining Holyrood amid ‘naked power grab’

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THE SNP has accused Chancellor Rishi Sunak of undermining the Scottish Parliament and attempting a “naked power grab”.

The party’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford said the UK Government is “privately planning for an independence referendum that they publicly say won’t happen”. 

Referring to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, he said there is “no Boris veto on Scottish independence”.

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It came as Mr Sunak said Scotland will receive a £1.2 billion boost as a result of the UK Budget.

READ MORE: Rishi Sunak: Scotland to receive £1.2 billion Budget boost

Addressing the Commons, he said the furlough and self-employment support schemes will be extended until the end of September.

There will also be a six-month extension to the £20 Universal Credit uplift, among other measures.

But the SNP insisted the Budget marked “a return to Tory austerity cuts”.

Mr Blackford told the Commons: “For a year now, the Tories have been in panic, privately planning for an independence referendum that they publicly say won’t happen.

“The purpose of the Internal Market Bill, of the Union Unit and the now so-called Levelling-Up Fund is crystal clear – they are all an attack on devolution.

“The Chancellor is undermining our parliament and centralising resources and decision-making at Westminster.

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“It is a naked power grab to bypass the devolved parliaments and take control of funding over devolved areas.

“Oh the irony, ‘take back control’. They’re taking back control from our Scottish Parliament. 

“That’s not only the opinion of the SNP, it’s the verdict of a former first minister of Wales.

“You know, when you hear Tory MPs representing Scotland chuntering away that they’re supporting this power grab against the people of Scotland, then frankly they should be ashamed of themselves, showing themselves up for what they’ve always been, the anti-Scottish Tory party.”

Mr Blackford said the Budget “completely fails to recognise the sheer scale of the other pandemic our communities are suffering, the poverty pandemic”.

He called for the Universal Credit uplift to be made permanent. 

He told MPs: “These attacks on devolution show what is fundamentally at stake because, as I said at the beginning of this speech, post-Brexit and post-pandemic, Scotland has a choice of two futures.

“At the heart of that choice is a simple question – who is best-placed to lead Scotland’s recovery and build a better future? 

“Westminster governments we didn’t vote for or independent Scottish governments of whatever party chosen by us and with Scotland’s best interests at heart?

“As we look ahead, we have every confidence in what is possible if we take our future into our own hands. We have the resources, we have the wealth, we have the talent.”

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Mr Blackford continued: “The Tories can try and deny democracy all they like, but that inalienable right to self-determination cannot and will not be subject to a Westminster veto. There is no Boris veto on Scottish independence.

“We keep faith in the right and the power of the people to bring about democratic change. 

“That choice is in the hands of Scotland’s people, it is they and they alone who will now decide that future.”

Mr Sunak said the UK Government “has protected millions of jobs and livelihoods across Scotland – and the strength and stability of our economic union will ensure we bounce back from this pandemic together”.

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