SCOTLAND’s Constitution Secretary has demanded a Tory minister withdraws claims the Scottish Government forced the controversial internal market bill to be brought forward by walking away from talks last year.

MPs last night backed the internal market bill, which the Scottish Government claims is a “power grab” with spending priorities from former EU funding to be set by the UK Government instead of Edinburgh, which had been the previous arrangement.

The bill also allows UK ministers to override the Brexit divorce deal, breaking international law.

Fears have also been raised that food standards in Scotland could be lowered with the bill tying all parts of the UK to any future trade deals.

READ MORE: MPs back controversial Brexit legislation despite ‘law-breaking’ concerns

Speaking on BBC Good Morning Scotland, UK Small Business Minister Paul Scully, suggested the bill has been needed because the Scottish Government walked away from talks over common frameworks that could have been progressed instead of the controversial proposals.

Mr Scully said: “Part of the reason that we’re in this place in the first place is we were dealing with common frameworks to try and build things to consensus – but the Scottish Government pulled out of that some time ago. We need to get them back to the table to make sure that we can build that consensus.

“The reason we’re legislating in the first place is because the Scottish Government walked away from some of the common frameworks discussions we were having last year.

“If we can get them together and work together, we can have more collaboration, more consensus on this which is obviously good for Scottish business and good for Scottish people.”

Appearing in front of MSPs at Holyrood’s Finance and Constitution Committee, Mike Russell insisted the comments were “categorically untrue”.

He added: “We have been working solidly on the common frameworks with the UK Government. We wish to complete that process – we wish them to be negotiated and agreed.

“Now, unfortunately, it is the UK that is walking away from the common frameworks because they wish to force the devolved administrations, all of them, to accept really bad trade deals and much lower standards.

“I would ask Mr Scully now to withdraw these remarks which are absolutely untrue and are presumably made out of ignorance – if they are not, then the situation is even more serios than we think.”

Labour MSP Alex Rowley added that the claims were “an absolute lie”.

Mr Russell told MSPs that the internal market bill, set to be considered by the House of Lords, would be a “hammer blow to the Scottish economy” and would act as “a wrecking ball to devolution”.

He added that “there’s no need for friction” between the two governments.

Scottish Conservative finance spokesperson, Murdo Fraser, told Mr Russell that the Scottish Government “did walk away from discussions around the UK market”.

He added: “The UK internal market is worth to Scottish business three times what the EU single market is worth to them.

“Does the Scottish Government recognise the value of the UK internal market and therefore recognise that this bill is necessary?”

READ MORE: Scottish Government 'must trust Westminster not to abuse sweeping powers'

Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie said that if the internal market bill was passed with the “explicit refusal of consent” by the Scottish Government, as has been committed to, it would be a “fundamental assault” on devolution and “a breach of the 2016 Scotland Act”.

He added: “The exercise of the powers this gives them would be wholly illegitimate.”

Mr Russell said: “I do not rule out further action that has not been used before.

“There are other legal issues that need to be considered. It’s very difficult to take legal action against something that is not law.”

He added: “If they don’t intend to use the powers, why are they giving themselves the powers?

“They are only giving themselves these powers because they intend to use them.”