Humza Yousaf to meet Rishi Sunak during London trip

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Humza Yousaf will meet Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in person for the first time since he became Scotland’s First Minister.

Mr Yousaf will meet the Prime Minister amid the looming court battle between Holyrood and Westminster after Scottish Secretary Alister Jack blocked the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill.

The First Minister has previously said challenging the UK Government’s block on the gender Bill was “our only means of defending our Parliament’s democracy from the Westminster veto” but Mr Sunak said Westminster had taken “very careful and considered advice” on the issue before acting.

Rishi Sunak visit to Scotland
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak with Scottish Secretary Alister Jack in Invergordon (Russell Cheyne/PA)

She said the delay was primarily due to the UK Government not providing an exemption to the Internal Market Act, which was implemented after Britain left the European Union to regulate trade within the country.

During their talks Mr Yousaf is expected to raise the 10.1% tax increase on Scotch whisky, alongside the UK Government “refusing to provide the energy bill support the rest of the drinks industry receives”.

“It’s time for the Prime Minister to bring fairness back to the way whisky is treated and I will make that crystal clear when we meet today,” the First Minister said ahead of the meeting.

David Porter, BBC Westminster correspondent for Good Morning Scotland, said on Monday’s programme: “They will meet face to face tonight but, although they may have a better personal relationship than we’ve had in the past between Prime Minister and First Minister, the politics have not changed.

“The Scottish Government wants a second independence referendum, the UK Government say that it’s not going to happen.

“I think it will be in some shape or form (on the agenda), likewise the possible legal action by the Scottish Government on the Gender Recognition Reform.

First Ministers Questions
First Minister Humza Yousaf is expected to talk about what he sees as the unfairness of taxation on the Scotch whisky industry (Jane Barlow/PA)

“Humza Yousaf and the Scottish Government believe that it is very unfair and they will be putting that case to the Prime Minister this evening.”

During his time in the UK capital, Mr Yousaf will also meet London Mayor Sadiq Khan, and ambassadors, including those from Germany and Ukraine, the Scottish Government said.

While the meeting with Mr Sunak will be the first in person since the SNP leader was made Scotland’s First Minister last month, it will not be their first conversation.

The pair spoke via telephone after Mr Yousaf was chosen by MSPs to be First Minister on March 28.

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