The National:

TORIES have made their fair share of ignorant comments about Scottish independence over the years but the latest is perhaps one of the worst.

During an opposition debate on reducing costs for businesses, SNP business spokesman Stephen Flynn warned Brexit "cannot be fixed".

MPs voted 219 in favour, none against, the non-binding motion by the Labour Party to “recognise the strain businesses are under following a difficult Christmas period and two years of disruption during the Covid-19 outbreak”.

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Shadow business secretary Jonathan Reynolds said the Labour motion aims to: “Freeze and replacing business rates, saving the average shop or small factory £4000 this year. Alleviating the debt burdens on firms, allowing them to pay back some of their Government loans when they’re more profitable.

“And not going ahead with that national insurance rise, a tax on jobs for employers at the worst possible time. And a £600 million contingency fund for businesses, particularly the energy intensive sectors, to address those spiralling energy costs.”

But Flynn said: "Brexit should be at the forefront of the debate here today and frankly I am a little bit disappointed in the Labour party in that they seem to try to walk away from it. 

"What comes next? What do they want to replace [business rates] with? From a local authority background myself I know the huge role that business rates play within the funding of local authorities and unless you can say ‘this is what we are going to replace it with’, then the public are going to look at it and say – ‘where is the detail?’”

Kevin Hollinrake responded: "I would want to know what he's going to do in the future because the rates of growth, economic growth in Scotland, to 2013 and 2019 pre-pandemic was 1.2% annual growth versus the rest of the UK's 2%. That is bad for business. What is he going to do in Scotland to grow the economy, a more rapid rate, even to the rate of the rest of the United Kingdom."

Flynn simply replied "join the single market", which was met by laughter and cheers from MPs.