THE SNP have condemned the UK Government for removing key climate policies from the Australian trade deal agreement.

Members voted through a topical resolution lodged by Stirling MP Alyn Smith which criticised the UK Government’s attempts to “avoid scrutiny” over the contents of the deal which could devastate Scotland’s food and drinks industry.

The resolution, titled "Climate Change and sustainable trade" was passed overwhelmingly on Saturday by 503 votes to five.

We previously told how Tory ministers caved in to demands from Australian ministers to drop two “climate asks” from the text of the trade deal.

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One of the areas removed was a reference to the Paris Agreement temperature goals.

And now, SNP MP Smith lodged the motion which raised concerns over the lack of scrutiny the deal was given in Westminster before it was passed.

It read: “Conference condemns the UK government's attempts to avoid scrutiny of the UK-Australia trade negotiations which will be devastating to Scotland's world-leading food and drinks industry; maintains that the UK government's handling of negotiations sets a dangerous precedent of trade policy being established by executive decree and bypassing parliamentary scrutiny; maintains that the economic benefits of the agreement with Australia are deemed to be at best negligible by independent assessments; condemns the government's removal of climate policies within the agreement in the strongest possible terms; and calls for the UK government to imbed its commitment to an environmentally sustainable and accountable international trade policy in law.”

Smith, moving the motion in his name, said that the issue was “close to my heart” and that the reality of Brexit was becoming clearer on a daily basis.

The National:

Smith moved the motion on sustainable trade in his name on Saturday morning

He added that it was a “democractic outrage” that Brexit happened against the will of the Scottish people, who overwhelmingly voted to remain in the EU, and that it was a “failure” the SNP couldn’t stop Brexit.

He said: “We did everything we could within the reality within the rule of law in the UK, and the reality of democracy within the UK.

“And it’s that reality that is moving so many people from scepticism about independence to enthusiasm for independence in Europe.

“Because within the UK, and I see it down in Westminster on a daily basis, everybody knows the ship is sinking, everybody knows the captain lies and we’re just expected to go along with it. Shut up, get to the back of the bus, know our place while this is done to us by people who don’t look out for our values, who don’t look look out for our vital industries, who don’t look out for new Scots and the people who have paid Scotland the supreme complement of coming to live here and work here and make scotland our home.”

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Smith added that an independent Scotland would be better off inside the EU and part of the single market.

He added: “The Australia trade deal is one of the best examples of that, I almost feel tempted to suggest to the hapless trade secretary down the road Liz Truss that these trade deals are far away, these trade deals are small.

“The Australia trade deal won’t have any negligible benefit according to all the experts. It’s trading with a country on the other side of the world, it’s a great country, we’re very pro-Australian, it’s not about the Australians themselves, it’s about how our trade is orientated and how our trade is organised and geography matters.”

Jamie Grant, from the SNP Stirling branched, seconded the motion.

The National:

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Boris Johnson in June when the trade deal was agreed

He said: “During the UK’s negotiations with the European Union, Scotland’s farmers and food and drinks industry were assured of the highest level of enviornmental protections post-Brexit and in any trade deals. But from what we’ve seen in the Australian trade deal, it’s very clear the UK is seeking to deregulate, strip back and cut environmental protections wherever they can to gain an advantage over our European neighbours, all at the cost of Scotland’s domestic industries.

“And let's not forget the Australian trade deal, which sailed through the Westminster parliament with the barest whiff of parliamentary scrutiny, and that’s the truth of it.

“It was never about taking back control, the UK’s parliament, people or democracy, it was about removing democratic scrutiny, economic social and environmental protections, all to concentrate power in the hands of a few to get their mates rich.”