He argued that UK ministers are utilizing Brexit and the Inside Market Act to “take again management” of devolved powers.
Giving proof to Holyrood’s Structure Committee for the primary time since his appointment, Mr Robertson mentioned the UK Government is utilizing post-Brexit insurance policies and spending plans “as an ill-disguised try and diminish the powers and tasks of the Scottish Government and this Parliament”.
Citing reported feedback from Prime Minister Boris Johnson that devolution has been a “catastrophe”, Mr Robertson instructed MSPs: “Devolution is below systematic assault from a UK Authorities that’s more and more hostile to devolution in each phrase and deed.”
Mr Robertson, the previous SNP chief at Westminster, mentioned the Inside Market Act – designed to handle regulatory divergence post-Brexit and stop commerce limitations between UK nations – “takes powers from Scottish ministers and locations it within the arms of UK ministers”.
He additionally mentioned that UK Authorities spending in Scotland on areas beforehand reserved “is more likely to have a profound and damaging impact on the devolved price range”.
He instructed the committee: “The Scottish Authorities will do all that we will to maintain Scotland protected, defend the positive aspects of devolution and our democratic rights.
“We stay dedicated to working with the UK Authorities and different devolved governments in an equal partnership on widespread frameworks, on voluntary preparations based mostly on progress by settlement between equals, providing a mannequin for future co-operation.
“However these preparations can solely work if all events are ready to respect devolution and proceed on the idea of equality and mutual respect.
“Sadly there’s little proof that Westminster desires an equal partnership, and has resorted as a substitute to unilateral management.”
Insisting the Scottish Authorities has a “clear mandate” for one more independence referendum, he added: “It’s more and more clear to me that the selection the folks of Scotland face is between a significantly diminished devolution settlement below fixed risk from the unilateral actions of a hostile UK Authorities, or as an impartial nation, a part of the European Union, and with a full vary of powers wanted to maintain Scotland protected, to get well from the social and financial harm of the pandemic and to flourish in a real partnership of equals with our mates throughout the remainder of the UK.”
Mr Robertson additionally bemoaned the standard of engagement with Westminster counterparts, suggesting latest conferences have concerned Zoom calls “the place UK ministers simply say ‘Famous’”.
He continued: “We have now a profound problem about how we cope with the UK Authorities as a result of, frankly, not solely is the connection between the UK Authorities and the devolved administrations suboptimal, however they’re truly pursuing insurance policies aimed toward undermining and denuding the devolved settlement.”
A UK Authorities spokeswoman mentioned: “Now greater than ever, folks in Scotland wish to see the UK Authorities and devolved administration working collectively to guard lives and livelihoods.
“The UK is probably the most profitable political and financial union the world has ever seen, and this pandemic and our collective response, from the furlough scheme to vaccine procurement and the backing of our army personnel, has proven that we’re at our strongest after we work collectively in the direction of a typical aim.
“The UK Authorities is set to degree up proper throughout the nation, together with by way of direct funding in Scottish communities.”