THE Scottish Tories have been accused of playing “cynical and opportunist political games” after backtracking over previous demands for glass to be included in Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme (DRS).

A major row has broken out ­after the UK Government said the scheme could only go ahead in Scotland if glass bottles – a key part – are ­excluded to make sure it “aligned” with plans in other nations.

First Minister Humza Yousaf said the Tories were not only ­trying to “scupper” the DRS but also ­“undermine devolution”.

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In February 2019, Tory MSP ­Maurice Golden wrote to then ­environment minister Roseanna ­Cunningham calling for her to ­include glass in the DRS as part of an ­“ambitious” UK-wide scheme, ­saying it will “tackle litter and improve ­recycling rates”.

In a tweet the same month, he also stated: “If you are going to do something, do it properly – Scotland’s new deposit returns system should include glass. It’s just common sense if we are serious about reducing litter and improving recycling.”

The National: Close up hand throwing empty Glass bottle into the trash.

Yesterday, he told the Sunday ­National it was now necessary to ­listen to “businesses who say glass just isn’t currently workable”.

Meanwhile, the Conservative manifesto for the 2019 UK ­election pledged to introduce a Deposit ­Return Scheme to “incentivise people to recycle plastic and glass”.

Scottish Greens MSP Mark Ruskell said: “The Scottish Tories have really bottled it when it comes to Scotland’s deposit return scheme.

“They’ve gone from rightly ­championing the inclusion of glass to playing cynical and opportunist ­political games with no concern for our environment or parliament.”

The National:

He added: “It was even in the manifesto that this anti-democracy and anti-planet Tory government was elected on. It is an utterly shameful transformation.

“It’s time for any Scottish Tories who still care about devolution, if they ever did, to stand up for ­Scotland. Even at this late stage they can still end the environmental blackmail and respect our Parliament.”

Yousaf has attacked ­Conservative ministers for “demanding” glass be dropped from the Scottish scheme, ­despite regulations passed by ­Holyrood specifically including this.

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He tweeted he had only received correspondence from ­Westminster on Friday night – after the UK ­Government spent the day briefing the media about their demands.

“That’s your respect agenda for you right there,” the First Minister said.

Lorna Slater, the Scottish Government minister responsible for ­implementing DRS, said ministers at Holyrood would now have to “look very seriously at where this leaves the viability of the Scottish scheme”.

With similar schemes in the rest of the UK not due to come into effect until 2025, Scottish ministers had been forced to seek an exemption from the post-Brexit UK Internal Market Act.

As glass bottles are not included in the plans for England and Northern Ireland, UK ministers argued having glass in the Scottish scheme could create a “permanent divergence” in the market.

A letter from UK Environment ­Secretary Therese Coffey, Scottish Secretary Alister Jack and ­minister for intergovernmental relations ­Michael Gove, sent to the Scottish First ­Minister late on Friday night, added that this would be “a very ­significant step for businesses and consumers, and there is insufficient justification for such an approach”.

Asked to comment on the move, Golden said: “Scotland could and should have launched a comprehensive DRS by now.

“But the reality is the SNP/Greens have made such a mess of things that the current scheme is ­unrecognisable from the one envisaged four years ago.

“Lorna Slater has taken cross-party and industry support for the scheme and systematically obliterated it.

“I think we have to listen to ­businesses who say glass just isn’t currently workable.”

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SNP depute leader Keith Brown MSP said: “Scottish politicians ­under every banner should be ­gravely ­concerned ­­about the Tory UK ­government’s increasing disregard of Scottish democracy – and what this means for the future of devolution.

“This is being presented as an agreement from the UK Government – this is dishonest. The Tories have created a poison pill to shamelessly undermine Scotland’s DRS legislation. It is even doubtful whether they truly want to see it enacted.

“The mask has long fallen off this sham ‘Union of equals’ – with ­independence, Scotland would be free to follow its own path and make its own laws – without the constant threat of Tory claw backs.”

The omission of glass from the DRS planned for England was criticised as a “betrayal” by one Tory MP last year.

Speaking in the Commons, Philip Hollobone, who represents ­Kettering, said: “Quite simply, its exclusion would be a catastrophe for our ­natural spaces as we all look to stem the tide of drink container pollution.

“It also represents the direct ­betrayal of a promise made by the Conservative Party to voters at the last general election, when we said in the manifesto that we would ­introduce a Deposit Return Scheme for both plastic and glass drinks ­containers.”

He raised concerns about ­lobbying from the glass industry and ­added: “Not only is the Government’s ­derisory decision to omit glass seeing us fail to be a world leader on the waste crisis on a global scale, but we are falling well behind Scotland and Wales.”

In response, then minister Jo Churchill said glass would still be within the extended producer responsibility scheme and improving reuse and recycling would be looked at.