A CONSERVATIVE minister has told Scots to “get on board” with Brexit – despite new figures showing its damaging impact on the nation’s exports.

In the Commons, SNP MP Steven Bonnar pointed out that between 2019 and 2021 the value of Scotland’s exports decreased by 24%, while England’s fell 12%.

The MP for Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill said: “This follows on from a period of steady decline since 2018. This is economic vandalism and there’s hardly a sector across the country that’s not attributed at least some of the blame for their difficulties to Brexit.”

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“There was never going to be a Brexit that was good for British businesses,” SNP MP Peter Grant added, telling the Government that its “botched handling of Brexit has made it even worse than it needed to be”.

But trade minister Penny Mordaunt brushed off the concerns: “Goods exports for quarter two between Scotland and the EU were up 4% compared to the same period last year," she insisted. "We are getting growth back after a period of obviously dealing with the pandemic and other shocks to the global economy.”

She said the SNP should “start focusing on those opportunities”, adding “the country has decided” on Brexit and the SNP should “get on board”.

Some 62% of Scots voted to stay in the EU at the 2016 Brexit referendum – and recent polling indicates most people in Scotland would like to rejoin the bloc.

Earlier this week, a new report revealed that Northern Ireland – which also voted Remain – has been less impacted by the double-hit of the pandemic and Brexit due to its access to the single market.

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The Northern Ireland Protocol was cited as a key reason for Northern Ireland’s economic recovery being stronger than the other UK nations. At the same time, Scotland’s economy suffered a 5% hit.

Commenting on the report, SNP MSP Clare Adamson said: “Scotland is paying an outrageous price for being ignored by Westminster for a Brexit inflicted on us against our will.

“These numbers are not some abstract theory, in the real world they mean crippling lost revenue for businesses across the Scottish economy and, in turn, that means lost jobs, lost income and hardship for families up and down the country.”