LORNA Slater has insisted devolution is under "sustained attack" in a scathing speech in the Holyrood chamber amid a row over Scotland's Deposit Return Scheme (DRS).

Last week, the UK Government said it had accepted the Scottish Government's request for an UK Internal Market Act exclusion for the scheme to go ahead, although only on a "temporary and limited basis". 

The Scottish Government received a letter on Friday evening from Westminster which "demanded" that glass be excluded from the DRS. Glass bottles were a key part of Scottish Government proposals.

In a statement following the move, Slater accused Scottish Secretary Alister Jack of being more interested in "torpedoing Scotland's parliament than he is in protecting Scotland's environment".

READ MORE: Tory MSP lost for words after Deposit Return Scheme claim in BBC interview

The Circular Economy minister said the UK Government's approach is "nothing to do with cooperation" and is instead "our way or the highway".

Emotions were high in the chamber, with deputy presiding officer Liam McArthur forced to warn MSPs not to interupt the statement on several occasions.

Scotland's scheme is due to start in March while other UK nations will launch similar schemes in 2025. In order to start the scheme earlier, the Scottish Government needed an exemption from the Internal Market Act - legislation introduced after Brexit to ensure smooth trade across the UK.

Slater added she felt Wales would run into the same problems Scotland has with the Internal Market Act. Wales has included glass in its proposed scheme. 

Slater called on the UK Government to demonstrate how it will put in place a UK scheme Scotland can align with instead of leaving ministers to examine whether the "deliberate sabotage leaves us something we can make work". 

Slater told the Parliament: "The aim of having schemes in the UK that work alongside each other and act as seamlessly as possible is entirely right. But that is not what the UK Government is doing. Its approach has nothing to do with co-operation or partnership.

“It’s ‘our way or the highway’.

“So in Scotland we can have a DRS that will be ready to launch next March. We will be finally moving on with DRS in the UK not just talking about it.

“And yet the UK Government wants to sabotage the one scheme in the UK that will be ready to go for a UK scheme that is nothing more than a plan on a page.

“My challenge to the UK Government today is this: to demonstrate how and when they will put in place a UK scheme for Scotland to align with.

“Show us a credible pathway - the regulations, the scheme administrator, secure funding, the staff recruitment, the system development, the procurement of delivery contracts, the partnership work with producers and retailers.

“In other words, show us all of the things that we have been working hard to put in place in Scotland, all of the things that will give businesses, producers, retailers, stakeholders the certainty that they need.

READ MORE: BBC framing of Deposit Return Scheme row 'extraordinary', says FM

"If the UK Government had given us the full exclusion that we had sought, then I would be here today setting out all the detailed steps that we are taking ahead of go-live date next March.

“But instead, we are now being forced to examine whether the deliberate sabotage by the UK Government leaves us something we can make work.

"There is still a win-win opportunity for the UK Government if it immediately reverses its 11th hour decision and enables Scotland to pave the way for the all-in DRS scheme including glass that it’s own analysis concluded was the best option."

Slater said the Scottish Government would need time to go through the detail of the UK Government decision and she will update Parliament on the next steps.

Tory MSP Maurice Golden accused Slater of an "anti-UK rant" while Labour MSP Sarah Boyack said Slater was using her statement as an excuse to "divert attention" away from her "mismanagement" of the scheme.

Slater finished her speech by saying the union was "broken".

She said: "We are here as the consequence of a Brexit Scotland didn’t vote for. Not just broken glass, but a broken Union. A supposed union of equals exposed as anything but by a Tory government persuing a scorched earth approach to devolution.

"Scotland deserves so much more. We deserve to get the governments we vote for. I look forward to a different future where we can have all the powers we need right here in this Parliament to deliver for the people of Scotland."