By Bill Heaney
Humza Yousaf has been told to ditch today’s “divisive and self-indulgent independence debate” and concentrate on being First Minister for all of Scotland.
The Scottish Conservatives said it’s “another kick in the teeth to rural Scotland” that, in the final week before the summer recess, precious parliamentary time is being wasted on the nationalists’ “obsession”, while the long-awaited Agriculture Bill is kicked into the long grass again.
Shadow rural affairs secretary Rachael Hamilton insisted it’s a sign of Humza Yousaf’s desperation to shore up his position as SNP leader that – hot on the heels of the party’s weekend independence convention – he is focusing relentlessly on breaking up the UK instead of the public’s real priorities.
She added that communities across rural Scotland – who already feel abandoned by the SNP-Green coalition – would draw their own conclusions from the fact that the Agriculture Bill had been delayed until the next parliamentary session despite the consultation having closed last year.
Rachael Hamilton and FM Humza Yousaf clash over indy bill.
Rachael Hamilton MSP said: “Nothing better illustrates Humza Yousaf’s misguided priorities than wasting a huge chunk of the final week of the parliamentary term on an independence debate.
“It’s another kick in the teeth to rural Scotland that this divisive and self-indulgent debate should take precedence, yet farmers remain in the dark as the Agriculture Bill is kicked down the road again.
“The consultation on this Bill opened last August and closed in early December, yet shamefully farmers still don’t know the contents of legislation that will hugely affect their livelihoods.
“On top of the ferries scandal, missed targets on trunk road dualling and broadband rollout, devastating fishing restrictions and a ban on the use of a much-needed herbicide, this is further proof of a nationalist coalition that doesn’t understand or care about remote and rural Scotland.
“Three months into the job, Humza Yousaf has realised that the only way he can quell the infighting in his scandal-ridden, warring party is to double down on the one issue they all agree on: trying to break up the UK.
“As a result, the real priorities of the Scottish people – the global cost-of-living crisis, NHS waiting times, and our rural way of life – are cast aside while he devotes all his energies to the SNP’s obsession.”