UK Minister admits breaking GM crops agreement with Scottish Government


  By a Newsnet reporter
The SNP has reacted angrily after a UK Government Minister admitted breaching an agreement with the Scottish Government over its opposition to GM crops.
It has emerged that Westminster environment secretary Owen paterson had promised Scottish Environment Minister Paul Wheelhouse that he would say that Scotland took a different view on GM from the UK at negotiations at the European Union’s Environment Council in Brussels.

However when appearing in Brussels, Mr Paterson failed to honour his agreement.  Pressed by MSPs this week on why he had breached his agreement with Mr Wheelhouse to present the Scottish Government’s views, the coalition minister said he had used the wrong notes.

The Conservative MP for North Shropshire said it was “unfortunate” that he hadn’t said what had been agreed, and added, “I talked to Paul beforehand, we agreed the speaking note and I have to confess I think I read the preceding one,”

Responding, Mr Wheelhouse said: “This was the one thing that both the Scottish government and our counterparts in the Welsh Assembly government wanted raised, yet Mr Paterson didn’t mention it,” The SNP MSP added: “This makes a mockery of the claim that Scotland is properly represented in Brussels by Westminster.”

SNP MSP and Convener of the Rural Affairs Committee Rob Gibson said:

“Owen Paterson’s selfish negotiating stance underlines the need for Scotland to have its own voice in the EU.

“The UK Government cannot claim to represent Scotland’s views at EU level when its Ministers fail to speak on lines previously agreed with Scottish and Welsh Ministers.

“The Scottish Government’s position on GM is very different to that of the UK Government – how can our Ministers trust any UK government minister who says he will take their views into account but when it comes to crunch negotiations ignore their previous pledges? With a Yes vote in September, Scotland will speak with its own voice at the EU top table.”