Free Ports

– in the Scottish Parliament on 8th October 2020.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Peter Chapman Peter Chapman Conservative

I read this morning with utter disbelief that Ivan McKee, the Minister for Trade, Investment and Innovation, suggested yesterday in Westminster that he might reject the opportunity of setting up free ports in Scotland. I can tell the First Minister that several ports in the north-east are interested in becoming free ports, which could turbocharge them and greatly boost local economies. Does the First Minister support that reckless position and total lack of ambition for the Scottish economy?

Photo of Nicola Sturgeon Nicola Sturgeon Scottish National Party

That is a complete mischaracterisation of our position, but I will put that to one side. I do not think that free ports are any substitute for being a full member of the single market, which the Conservatives are of course ripping us out of against our will.

Let the Conservatives tell us exactly what they mean about free ports, how they will work and whether they are anything other than a race to the bottom. We will of course listen to and support anything that is in the interest of Scotland. What is absolutely against that interest right now is the Tories’ obsession with Brexit, and their determination to drag us out of the single market and the European Union and to potentially leave the transition period with no deal.

The Conservatives should really have a long, hard look at themselves with regard to Scotland’s trading position before levelling any accusation at the Scottish Government.