ALISTER Jack said Scotland’s new First Minister Humza Yousaf should put the independence movement “into reverse”.

The Scottish Secretary congratulated Yousaf on his appointment, but said: “I heard him say that he wanted to put the independence drive into fifth gear, and I would gently remind him that most Scots actually want him to put it into reverse – to work with the United Kingdom to tackle the issues that really matter to them.”

Speaking at Scottish Questions in the House of Commons on Wednesday, he added: “Not only did (Yousaf) fail in the transport brief, as we know from his opponent who took 48% of the vote, almost half the votes, that he also failed in his other briefs in justice and in health.”

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Meanwhile, SNP MP Deidre Brock asked Jack to apologise for his "incorrect" claim on February 22 that the Scottish Government had not asked for an exemption from the Internal Market Act for the deposit return scheme. 

Jack claimed the "official request" came in an inter-ministerial government meeting on March 6.

He added: "The Scottish Government had proceeded with a scheme that small businesses, consumers and others are very concerned about. Even the chief executive of Tesco yesterday, the UK's largest retailer, has said it's not the right scheme, that it's not fit for purpose.

"The Scottish Government have asked for their exemption after they put their scheme together. If I was building a house, I'd get planning permission. Then I build my house. Not do it the other way round."

Drew Hendry responded that then deputy first minister John Swinney wrote to the UK Government on the January 31 and even received a positive reply on February 10. 

The SNP MP added: "Is the problem here that the Secretary of State just has a very selective memory, or is it the fact that he's so busy preparing for a seat in the House of Lords that his office don't even bother keeping him in the loop anymore?"

Labour shadow Scotland secretary Ian Murray also congratulated Humza Yousaf on his appointment, saying: “The Secretary of State rightly challenged him to engage reverse gear on independence, but I think he may have already crashed that car."

He said: "What he (Yousaf) does not inherit is Nicola Sturgeon’s mandate. At the Holyrood election, the ballot paper said Nicola Sturgeon for first minister, not Humza Yousaf." 

Murray then suggested there should be a snap Holyrood election. 

Later in the debate, SNP MP Pete Wishart went on the attack.

He asked Jack what the Union's greatest achievement has been. He then added: "Over the past few years, is it a Brexit that Scotland doesn't support? Is it high energy prices in energy rich Scotland?

"Or perhaps it's being run by a bunch of Tories that most of Scotland rejected."