Murdo Fraser hit out at Scotland’s First Minister for making the suggestion, accusing her of using any issue at all to swing a “constitutional battering ram” at the UK government. The Scottish Tories’ spokesman on finance said Scotland did not need a different visa system because officials would exercise flexibility when assessing immigration applications depending on the demand for overseas workers in different parts of Britain. Ms Sturgeon’s call for immigration powers to be devolved to Holyrood were rejected by Boris Johnson, who branded her vision “absolutely fanciful and deranged”.
Mr Fraser argued that the UK-wide immigration system proposed by the Prime Minister was the only realistic option for the UK after the Brexit transition period ends on December 31 2020.
He told Express.co.uk: “What the Prime Minister has said is immigration for the UK will take account of the different parts of the UK.
He insisted that having different visa rules in Scotland would be “inconsistent with having a single UK state” and would be “unworkable in practice”.
He cited Scotland’s need for foreign workers to keep its fruit picking and packing sector running smoothly as a prime example of how the need for immigrants varies from region to region.
Earlier this week, the SNP published a lengthy explanation behind their visa plan, claiming the “Tories’ disastrous, draconian approach to migration is failing Scotland.”
The Scottish National Party (SNP) said the Prime Minister’s plan to introduce an Australian-style points system would have punishing effects on Scotland’s economy.
In a statement, the party said: “Scotland’s own immigration system would serve our needs much better than an out-of-touch system designed in Westminster.
“The Scottish Government’s proposed Scottish visa system would be an additional option alongside other UK visas post-Brexit, boosting Scotland’s economy, strengthening our public services, and reflecting our welcoming and open-minded culture.”
Ms Sturgeon’s group said the Tories’s “hostile immigration polices” would “plunge Scotland’s working age population into decline”.
But Mr Fraser said the First Minister’s clash with Mr Johnson was part of a recurring trend.
“Its all part of the SNP approach – the approach that everything is used as a constitutional battering ram,” he said.
“Every case they try to pick a fight with the UK government, they try to argue that these poses need to be passed down to Scotland.”