PMQs: Ian Blackford drops truth bomb over post-Brexit trade deal with Australia

File photo dated 18/11/19 of SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford, who has said a Scottish indepdenc

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford (pictured above) said his party would "look constructively" at Boris Johnson's proposals for a Covid passport scheme - Credit: PA

Ian Blackford has kicked off parliamentary scrutiny of the government's post-Brexit trade deal with Australia by asking the prime minister multiple questions on the subject at PMQs.

The leader of the SNP used his questions to ask for more “details of the disastrous trade deal with Australia”. He said these details were “busy being celebrated in Canberra, but concealed in London,” before going on to state that “for all the spin, it is clear that the Tory government has thrown Scottish farmers and crofters under their Brexit bus.”

“Those with most to lose from this deal don’t need to hear the prime minister’s usual waffle. Their livelihoods are at stake, prime minister. Just this once, they deserve honest answers from this government.” 

He asked: “Can the prime minister confirm that from day one of this deal that 35,000 tonnes of Australian beef and 25,000 tonnes of Australian lamb will be free to roam the UK market tariff-free?”

Boris Johnson responded by saying “it’s a great deal for the UK, a great deal for Scotland and a great deal for Scottish farming”. He added that it was “tragic” that the SNP were not able to appreciate the benefits of being able to take advantage of these export opportunities. “It is an opportunity to get behind Scottish farmers, not run them down,” he said. 

“My goodness, I don’t even think the prime minister can believe that tripe,” Blackford rebuked. “In the Tories' desperation to get a post-Brexit trade deal with somebody - with anybody - they’ve given the farm away, literally.” He explained that it was clear who the winners of this deal are, stating that “Australia's economy will benefit to the tune of $1.3billion a year.”

“The UK’s own assessment is that the Australian deal is worth just 0.02% of GDP. Mr Speaker, you would need 200 Australian deals to come close to migrating the cost of Brexit.” 

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Challenging the PM's confidence, Blackford told the House that “if the prime minister is really confident about the benefits of this deal, does he have the guts to put it to a vote in this House?"

The prime minister answered saying that “the people of this country voted for the government to get on and deliver free trade deals around the world,” before exclaiming to the House “if he needs another referendum, well we had one of those.”

Earlier in the session, Blackford had wished both Scotland and England best wishes for the upcoming ahead of their Euros football match. In a barbed reference about Brexit, he quipped: “I do hope we don’t see Scotland being dragged out of the Euros against her wishes”. 

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