THE new SNP Justice Secretary is being urged to drop one of his predecessor’s most controversial proposals.

Humza Yousaf, who replaced Michael Matheson in the justice brief in Tuesday’s reshuffle, was pressed to reconsider the merger of British Transport Police and Police Scotland.

The integration, which has been furiously resisted by British Transport Police (BTP) officers, was supposed to be put into effect by April 2019.

However in February it was shelved indefinitely because of pay and conditions problems, including a potential pensions black hole of £100m.

Police Scotland, who backed the transfer of around 200 BTP staff, admitted the 2019 deadline could not be met “without compromising public safety”.

Tory justice spokesman Liam Kerr the said the change of Justice Secretary was a chance to “abandon the dogma” of Mr Matheson and rethink the merger.

He said: “As it currently stands the proposed merger of the British Transport Police and Police Scotland will not work, will cost more, and will leave us with a worse service.

“It is time for the new Justice Secretary to show he is his own man, take a step back to review and speak to us about other models of devolution.

“The SNP must abandon this ill-judged merger for the sake of public safety.”

A spokesperson for Mr Yousaf said: “This is double standards from Tories as they effectively called for the scrapping of BTP in last year’s Tory manifesto.

“We remain committed to the safe and smooth integration of BTP into Police Scotland following Parliament’s vote to pass the Railway Policing Act.

“This will deliver continuity of service for rail users and staff and a single command structure, with seamless access to wider support facilities and specialist resources.”