THE UK Government has been accused of treating Scotland’s Parliament with “increasing contempt” after repeatedly snubbing one of its key committees.

Holyrood’s Rural Affairs and Islands Committee, which is chaired by Tory MSP Finlay Carson, has invited the UK’s Environment Secretary to appear on three occasions, and twice been completely ignored.

The third time, the Tory Government declined to have Secretary of State Therese Coffey appear before MSPs.

The SNP said Coffey was first sent an invite to speak to the committee on November 9, 2022. The UK Government did not respond.

READ MORE: UK ministers are 'making a habit' of snubbing Scottish Parliament

A follow-up letter was sent on March 22, 2023, with a rejection of the invitation received the following month.

A third invitation was then sent on June 8, but a reply from a junior minister on July 5 only told the committee to ask the Scotland Office instead.

SNP MSP Jim Fairlie, who sits on the Holyrood committee, said the snubs were not a surprise.

The UK Government’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, which Coffey leads, declined to comment.

“The fact that the Tory Government is snubbing Scotland’s rural communities will come as no shock, given the increasing contempt Westminster is showing the Scottish Parliament and Scotland’s voice, but it is nevertheless a downright disgrace,” Fairlie said.

"Issues like the lack of funding guarantee beyond 2024 from the UK Government are hugely significant for the future of our rural industries – which is why it is so crucial Westminster engages with Holyrood's rural committee.

"While we’ve come to expect little more from Westminster, the disregard and disrespect the Tories hold for the Scottish Parliament will be noticed by people who live and work in Scotland’s rural communities.”

The National: Jim Fairlie MSP

Fairlie (above) added: “Scotland’s rural industries are being woefully let down by this Tory government which is leaving them with nothing as they suffer a Tory cost of living crisis, Westminster economic incompetence and being forced to leave the EU against Scotland’s will – and neither the Tories or pro-Brexit Labour are willing to face up to the reality of their harmful policies.

“The SNP is taking action where it can to reduce the challenges they are facing but, ultimately, industries like those in our agriculture sector are ignored and failed by Westminster parties – and they deserve far better.”

The National previously reported how Tory ministers were making a "habit" of snubbing Holyrood committees

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, and Equalities Secretary Kemi Badenoch have all rejected invitations to speak to MSPs in recent months.