THE RELATIONSHIP between the UK Government and Holyrood has deteriorated significantly more under Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

The claim was made by cabinet secretary Mike Russell during a Westminster Brexit committee this morning.

The constitution secretary claimed the current UK Government shows “hostility” towards devolved governments, and said the atmosphere around devolution had been “poisoned”.

He said: “I just think that's all very confused now, and in some people's minds devolution means independence… it's a complex system, we could probably debate it for a very considerable period of time.

“But I think the atmosphere has been poisoned, and the current government has poisoned it even more in the last year.”

Mr Russell was speaking to MPs on the Committee on the Future Relationship with the European Union, in which he said the chances of the UK securing a deal with the EU, on a scale of 1-10, were “around minus five”.

SNP MP Phillipa Whitford asked the MSP about the fact the UK Government would be able to spend money in devolved areas in Scotland if councils applied to it directly for funding.

He said: “Regrettably, I think that the use of these funds will not be something that will be positive or beneficial. I'd love to see money spent in Scotland, nobody would be happier seeing that money spent in Scotland.

“But I believe that it should be spent wisely, and it should be spent in collaboration with the Scottish Government, because it could be spent in opposition and that would be a shocking waste of public resources.”

Veteran conservative MP Peter Bone asked Mr Russell if he thought the government were “telling porky pies” or if the Scottish government doesn’t “want to accept a gift horse” in the form of powers held by the EU which would come to Scotland.

Mr Bone said: “ I understand that there will be differences between the devolved powers in Scotland and Wales. I just can't get past the point that either the government is sort of telling porky pies, or you don't want to do except a gift horse, because if there are powers in European Union, that were controlled by the European superstate. and now they'd be given to Scotland, that must be fundamentally better. It doesn't matter how they get to Scotland, if you've got those powers, it must be better isn't it?”

Mr Russell replied: “I think you and I would profoundly disagree about a European super state. I don't think it exists in that regard.

“In terms of who is telling  porky pies, Scotland has a bit of a tradition of being told porky pies by a number of people. For example the campaign for Brexit in June, 2016, where a very senior UK minister -  Michael Gove - pledged new immigration powers for Scotland, saying that it would be for Scotland to decide how many immigrants it admits in the event of Brexit. That is a commitment that was made, it did not happen.”

The SNP MSP was joined by Welsh government minister Jeremy Miles, who also raised concerns about the UK Government’s handling of Brexit and the lack of collaboration between Westminster and devolved governments. He said the Internal Markets Bill could “neuter devolution”, and explained: “A government in Westminster which seeks to control the powers of spending in remote areas and essentially, to have a hand on the till when it comes to setting the Welsh government's budget is the government which seeks to neuter devolution

“It's quite smartly crafted effectively, you can circumvent the democratic institutions.

“The areas for which the UK Government are already responsible for funding in Wales are areas where there is significant under funding. So if there is money to be spent in Wales, my strong advice is they should be spent on areas which are currently reserved.”