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SNP evidence session cancelled

WESTMINSTER'S Foreign Affairs Committee has cancelled a session in Edinburgh next month because the Scottish Government refused to attend to give evidence on the inquiry by MPs into the impact of Scottish independence on foreign policy.

The Herald was told the committee has been trying for five weeks to arrange an evidence session with the SNP administration but Holyrood was proving "unco-operative" and had failed to confirm Fiona Hyslop, its External Affairs Minister, would attend on November 13.

It is believed the Scottish Government wants to hear the evidence from other witnesses first before having one of its ministers cross-examined by MPs. It is now thought a new date will be arranged with the session taking place in either Edinburgh or London. However, the committee's final session is traditionally with a UK Government minister.

Richard Ottaway, the Conservative chairman of the committee, asked if he felt the committee had been snubbed by Holyrood, told The Herald: "I'm disappointed. However, I remain optimistic a meeting can be agreed."

A Scottish Government spokesman said: "These claims are wrong. Given there are a number of live Westminster committee inquiries into an independent Scotland, we have proposed Scottish ministers' evidence should be heard towards the end of the live evidence proceedings. We have offered to go to London if it helps."

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