THE SNP’s International Engagement Ambassador has written to every British ambassador insisting Scotland “will not be put back in a box.” 

The letter also seeks reassurance that the Scottish Government’s work overseas will not be diminished due to UK Government interference. 

It emerged last month that Foreign Secretary James Cleverly had issued a letter to all UK diplomats with four demands on handling Holyrood ministers’ foreign visits and discussions.

In his letter to British ambassadors, Chris Law MP called the latest development a “democratic outrage and an unprecedented position” and insisted that Scotland “will not be put back in a box.” 

The National:

Commenting on the letter, Law said: “Every Scottish Government since devolution began has worked to strengthen Scotland’s international footprint and advance our collective interests, whether that be in securing jobs and investment here in Scotland or working to protect human rights and reduce poverty abroad. 

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“I know that British Ambassadors and diplomats will recognise these orders for what they are: an outright attack on Scotland’s devolved institutions and an attempt to force Scotland back into its box. 

“The Scottish Government’s work on climate change, climate justice, human rights and tackling child poverty have proven world-leading and fundamental to all of us – the stakes are too high for our place in the world to be traduced.” 

The National:

The MP concluded his letter by asking for assurance from ambassadors that "the Scottish Government’s work overseas will be in no way diminished."

This follows, External Affairs Secretary Angus Robertson’s letter to Cleverly calling on him to withdraw the guidance – warning he is “concerned at the damage [it] could do to Scottish trade, cultural exchanges and education, and to Scottish interests in general”.

Robertson said he first became aware of the guidance from a newspaper journalist, rather than a UK Government figure. He expressed concerns over “a number of omissions and misleading assertions”, telling Cleverly that the guidance would be “unworkable”.

An FCDO spokesman said: “Any suggestion that the UK Government is suppressing Scotland’s voice from being heard internationally is absurd. The 800 staff based at FCDO’s joint HQ in East Kilbride are at the very heart of shaping and delivering UK foreign policy.

“The Scottish Government’s Constitution and External Affairs Secretary, Angus Robertson, recently praised the FCDO at the Scottish Affairs Committee for its strong record of supporting the devolved governments. Promoting every area of the UK is part of our DNA.

“The Foreign Secretary’s guidance will not change the UK Government’s commitment to working collaboratively with each of the devolved governments and their Ministers in the delivery of devolved policy objectives, while ensuring reserved competences are fully respected.”