JACKSON Carlaw has been accused of being ready to “sell out Scotland” after backing a Tory power grab on Holyrood.

His comments came after the Scottish Government threatened to defy proposed post-Brexit legislation allowing Westminster to take control of food and environmental standards once powers are returned from the EU.

Powers on food safety, agriculture and many aspects of environment policy are devolved, though much of the policy in those areas is subject to rules set in Brussels. After Brexit, the UK Government wants to have the final say on issues previously decided by the EU.

READ MORE: Holyrood threatens to defy Westminster on post-Brexit legislation

On Sky News yesterday, Carlaw was asked if decisions on food standards for Scotland should be taken in Edinburgh or London. He said it was “absolutely right” that powers are seized by Westminster.

He stated: “The internal market in the UK is where 60% of Scotland’s business goes. So when we come out of the transition arrangements, when these powers come back from the EU, while there will be opportunities for the devolved administrations throughout the UK to have some variation and discretion, it’s absolutely important on some of the key measures, which will allow that internal market within the UK to operate, to be common and food standards is one of them.

“It’s absolutely no use whatsoever to Scottish farmers, to Scottish fishermen, to all the producers of food in Scotland if we end up with different standards to the rest of the UK. It would seriously inhibit their ability to sell into that market.”

Th Scottish Tory leader added: “We’re only a few months away from leaving … so the UK Government, with the timescale that we have in front of us, have to make sure that we have protected jobs across Scotland, jobs across the UK and that internal market for our producers. So I think it’s absolutely the right thing to do.”

READ MORE: Jackson Carlaw squirms on Sky when asked about Scots virus fight

In response, SNP MSP Emma Harper fumed at the prospect of Scotland being forced to accept lower standards on food, environment and animal welfare, “regardless of the democratic view of the Scottish people”, under the Tories’ plans.

She told The National: “Imposing these lower standards on Scotland amounts to a completely undemocratic power grab. What’s more, this is a complete betrayal of promises made by the Leave campaign – who insisted that these powers would come directly to Holyrood.

“It’s simply unacceptable for the Tories to undermine devolution and threaten the hard-won powers of our Scottish Parliament – such an approach is exactly why Scotland voted so overwhelmingly against Brexit.”

Harper concluded: “It’s clear that the Tories are prepared to sell out Scotland by any means necessary, by fully signing up to whatever untold damage Brexit will do.”