Angus Robertson, Cabinet Secretary for Constitution, External Affairs and Culture in the Scottish Parliament, today launched an incredible attack on Lord Frost in an explosive letter and claimed that the triggering of Article 16 of the Protocol of Northern Ireland would be “economic vandalism”. In the letter to Lord Frost, Mr Robertson asked the minister to call a meeting with the decentralized nations and criticized the peer for his approach during the negotiations. However, in response, Scottish Conservative shadow Constitutional Secretary Donald Cameron accused the minister of “high profile”.
Talk to Express.co.uk, he said: “The SNP should focus fully on our recovery from Covid, rather than continuing to defend constitutional issues. “
Mr Robertson also admitted his concern over the lack of progress between the two sides, although the EU admitted a change of tone from the UK last week.
In yet another brutal attack by Mr Robertson, he accused the UK of taking an “ideological and confrontational approach” with the EU.
He said: “I am increasingly alarmed by the continued lack of progress in talks between the UK government and the European Union on the Northern Ireland Protocol.
“Although your statement on Friday following your meeting with Vice-President Šefčovič referred to a constructive spirit, it gave little, if any, reassurance that a positive path would be found.
“It has the potential to cause further harm to Scotland.
“It hardly seems believable that the UK government is now considering action – the triggering of Article 16 of the Northern Ireland Protocol – that could result in a disastrous trade dispute with the EU that would clearly delay recovery from the pandemic.
“It would be another act of economic vandalism at the worst possible time.”
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In response to the letter, a spokesperson for No10 told Express.co.uk: “Our preference is to reach a consensus solution that resolves the significant disruption on the ground in Northern Ireland caused by the Protocol.
“Lord Frost has met Vice-President Sefcovic four times in the past four weeks and intensive technical discussions are ongoing.
“As we have said repeatedly, we will have to use the Article 16 safeguard mechanism if solutions cannot be found to protect the Belfast Agreement (Good Friday).”
Despite the Scottish minister’s comments, the EU said the talks had reached a more positive tone.
Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney also said the issues surrounding the protocol could be resolved before Christmas.
He also claimed that the UK’s delay in triggering Article 16 created a window of opportunity for negotiations.
He said: “There is a real opportunity to try and make some headway on drugs, in particular, this week, and then use that as a foundation for building confidence to try and tackle other issues as well.
“We believe that some of the issues can be resolved quickly, which could actually generate some momentum in this process of talks.
“Some of the other issues will take a little longer because they’re technical and complex, around customs codes, etc.
“But look, there is no doubt that if both sides wanted it and focused on making progress, we could fix these issues before Christmas.”
Discussions will continue between Lord Frost and Maros Sefcovic on Friday.