THE UK Government has been accused of a “serious breach of trust” after allegedly bypassing the Scottish Government by disclosing information on a new Scottish freeport to the press.

The Press and Journal on Wednesday reported that Cromarty Firth will be one of the two sites to gain freeport status in Scotland, which allows an area substantial tax breaks.

The newspaper cited “UK Government sources”, adding that it means a joint bid from Aberdeen and Peterhead is likely to fail.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Deidre Brock accused the Tories of a “pathetic attempt to steal a march" on the Scottish Government.

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She said: “I note the Press and Journal yesterday ran an article quoting UK Government sources as saying Cromarty Firth would be one of the sites selected for free port status alongside a Firth of Forth bid.

“Now, I’ve checked with Scottish Government sources who tell me they weren’t consulted on this disclosure ahead of the formal announcement expected on Friday.

“That’s a pretty serious breach of trust when you consider the Scottish and UK Governments were supposed to be working together in partnership on these proposals.

“It was clearly leaked to the media in yet another pathetic attempt to steal a march on Scotland’s government.

“So will the leader [of the House of Commons] undertake to investigate exactly who decided to bypass the protocol in this way? It is no wonder the people of Scotland have so little confidence in Westminster governments when infantile games of Westminster spin like this are being played.”

House leader and Tory MP Penny Mordaunt refused to answer the questions or confirm whether such an investigation would be held.

Asked by The National, a Scottish Government spokesperson refused to answer whether they had been consulted on the disclosure, but said: “Scottish and UK Government Ministers and officials are in discussions to finalise decisions on the successful bids for Scottish Green Freeports. We are hopeful that an announcement can be made very shortly.”

The freeports initiative is a joint venture between the Scottish and UK governments aimed at fuelling economic growth in a particular area.

The ports can extend around a 28-mile radius and brings tax cuts along with other incentives.

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LibDem MP for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross Jamie Stone said the announcement opens "incredible opportunities" for the area.

It's one of two freeports to be announced in Scotland, with Forth Ports expected to take the second slot. 

It's reported that Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will make a formal announcement on the freeports on Friday.

The UK Government has been approached for comment.