ALISTER Jack dodged explaining the "striking coincidence" donation by a trade group to the Tories as he was probed on the growing row over the deposit return scheme.

The Scottish Secretary was speaking on BBC Scotland's Sunday Show when he was asked if a £20,000 donation to the Conservative Party had any influence on the UK Government's decision to tell Scotland its recycling scheme cannot go ahead unless it excludes glass.

The Sunday National exclusively told how campaigners said there were "questions" over a donation from the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) to the Tories, just six weeks after the UK Government changed its position for the first time. 

READ MORE: Timeline: How the row over Scotland's deposit return scheme developed

Defra denied the allegations. 

On Sunday morning, BBC journalist Martin Geissler asked Jack: "Did you listen to the people who make Tennent's lager who said taking glass out of the plan is a massive threat to investment, businesses, and jobs, or to Coca Cola who said Get on with it Scotland, this is ready to go we're buying into this completely?

"There are arguments on both sides - or did you listen to the Wine and Spirit Trade Association who gave you a 20 grand donation to your party?"

Jack replied but skipped over the mention of the donation, saying: "Well, there aren't arguments on both sides because I've spoken to Coca-Cola, they’ve come to Dover House, and they are very keen on a one-state solution across the United Kingdom. 

"And here's the important point, you must give me time to make this point. 

"The managing director of C&C who owns Tennents wrote to me on Friday, copied the First Minister's letter to me on Friday.

"He said and I quote and it's only six lines, ‘Please find enclosed the letter we sent to Humza Yousaf, Scotland’s First Minister, setting out our position following last weekend's Internal Market announcement.

"'Regrettably, specific passages from this letter were leaked to the media misrepresenting C&C Tennents position on DRS.

"'C&C Group, Tennents, is actively seeking and supports a UK-wide scheme introduced at the same time across the four UK nations; a single UK-wide scheme has been our preferred outcome since 2017'."

READ MORE: Former Labour MSP Neil Findlay finds hope over despair

Geissler pointed out that the last time Jack joined the programme was on the eve of COP26, three Tory PM's ago, and had said at the time he would not grant a Section 30 order, that the SNP should forget independence as the environment is "all that matters".

The BBC journalist pointed out that the Tories are now delaying schemes, intended to help the environment, by years. The UK's deposit return scheme is not due to begin until 2025. 

Jack said: "Well, environment does matter but I would argue that if you insert class you kill, Edinburgh local authority for instance,  they recycle glass, many local authorities in Scotland, they recycle the glass, it underpins their recycling model curbside and we’re very good at it.

"You take the bottles away and leave them with jam jars, the recycling job falls over..."

When Geissler pointed out that isn't the Scottish Secretary's job, the Internal Market Act (IMA)  doesn't come into that issue and it appeared Jack was using the legislation to "consistently block" the Scottish Parliament, the Tory MP claimed the IMA was invoked because 85% of the materials in the scheme would come from "outside Scotland".

Earlier, Jack was asked if the UK Government would be making a U-turn on their decision to exclude glass from the recycling scheme, after First Minister Humza Yousaf warned that if a change in position isn't taken by Monday, the whole scheme will collapse. 

"No, listen we’ve given an exclusion, there are four conditions in that exclusion which allow the schemes to work across the United Kingdom," Jack said. 

An SNP source said: “Typical of the Tories to avoid questions about who funds them.

"The public deserve answers and as usual Alister Jack buries his head in the sand.”