HUMZA Yousaf has accused Scottish Labour of “sitting on their hands” while "the Tories are undermining the Scottish Parliament at every opportunity."

The First Minister’s criticism came as his Welsh counterpart criticised the UK Government for using the Internal Market Act to force the exclusion of glass in the Scottish Deposit Return Scheme. 

Mark Drakeford said the use of the legislation - designed to ensure frictionless trade across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland after Brexit - raised “very serious questions”.

Wales is planning on pushing ahead with their own DRS which would include glass. 

However, in their letter to the Scottish Government last Friday, the UK Government said that all schemes across the UK "will need to align on which containers are in scope."

This means Wales, like Scotland, will almost certainly need to exclude glass to obtain an exemption from the UK Internal Market Act. 

READ MORE: Gordon Brown unveils his Alliance for Radical Democratic Change

Mr Drakeford said he was “considering the implications” of the decision for the Welsh Government.

“I would dispute the use of the IMA for these purposes and if they were to invoke it, there would be very serious questions for the UK Government.


“Why so late in the day?"

“The English Government is the outlier here," he added.

The SNP leader said that while the Welsh Labour Party were standing up for devolution, there was “nothing but silence” from Anas Sarwar.

There has been much focus on Labour’s position on the constitution in recent days, partly because of pressure from Gordon Brown. 

The former prime minister launched his new Alliance for Radical Democratic Change at a rally in Edinburgh on Thursday, bringing together Mr Drakeford, Mr Sarwar, and Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham, and West Yorkshire Mayor Tracy Brabin.

The new group comes six months after a report released by Mr Brown on the future of the UK, which included 40 recommendations for “constitutional, social, economic and political reform.”

The new Alliance will add to the pressure on Sir Keir Starmer to keep constitutional reform as a priority ahead of the next general election

One of the suggestions put forward by the ex-MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath in his report was for elected provosts in Scottish cities. 

Yesterday, Mr Burnham said the recommendation “just makes sense.”

He said it could lead to greater collaboration between businesses and cities in Scotland and England without the need for national governments.

READ MORE: Elected provosts in Scottish cities 'just makes sense'

Speaking to the Press Association as he visited Alexander Dennis’s Larbert site on Friday to see the first 50 new “Bee Network” buses for Greater Manchester, Mr Burnham said he could sympathise with the SNP’s anxiety over the reach of the government in Westminster.

The Herald:

“I’ve had my frustrations and to be honest with you, I feel like I understand the sentiments in Scotland better because we all have our frustrations about the way Westminster treats the rest of the UK, the regions in England but also Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

“I think people may not realise in Scotland how much we feel the same in the north of England."

Mr Burnham also backed the demand for further devolution in Scotland, saying that if he could "pick up the phone to the elected mayors or provost of Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen or Dundee" they would "all start working more.”

READ MORE: Poll: Should Scotland have directly elected provosts?

Mr Yousaf will be campaigning in his Glasgow Pollok seat today, talking to constituents about the need for independence "built on the principles of a wellbeing economy."

Speaking ahead of the stop, the First Minister said: “There has never been a more important time for the people of Scotland to seize the opportunities of independence and escape Westminster.

“The current UK political system is broken and has failed to support people in Scotland during a Westminster cost-of-living crisis.

“On top of the damage being inflicted by cruel Westminster policies, the Tories are undermining the Scottish Parliament at every opportunity and Labour are sitting on their hands – the SNP is the only party prepared to stand up and defend devolution.

“Today, I’ll be taking the SNP’s positive vision for an independent Scotland built on the principles of a wellbeing economy that puts working families first – rather than big business – where our democracy is protected and strengthened.”

Pamela Nash, chief executive of Scotland in Union, and Labour's candidate for Motherwell and Wishaw, said: “There is no positive economic case for leaving the UK.

“If Humza Yousaf has honest conversations with people in Glasgow he will tell them that independence would reduce the money available for our NHS and hit the poorest the hardest and that we’re stronger together as part of the UK.

“But frankly given the cost-of-living crisis, the NHS waiting times crisis, the funding crisis facing community services, and the climate crisis, his constituents will wonder why on earth he is banging on about independence.

"It’s time for the people’s priorities, not the SNP’s.”