A TORY MSP has been criticised for using “unparliamentary language” after calling a minister a “hypocrite” during a committee meeting.

During a meeting of the Rural Affairs and Islands Committee on Wednesday morning, convener Finlay Carson claimed that Rural Affairs Minister Mairi Gougeon was “hypocritical” for seeking clarity from the UK Government about the funding arrangements for Scottish agriculture.

The Scottish Government is set to introduce a new Agriculture Bill to parliament later this year, which will change the way the country’s agricultural industry is funded.

Farmers currently receive funding via the same rules that applied when the UK was a member of the European Union.

This is set to end some point after 2025 when the Scottish Government will bring in its own bespoke funding system.

However, Gougeon told the committee that there remains uncertainty surrounding the amount of funding which can be expected from the UK Government for agriculture in Scotland in the coming years.

When asked by Carson what her “specific ask” of the Treasury regarding the agricultural budget was, she said: “Well, we’ll essentially be asking for our fair share of funding going forward because we’re already facing a shortfall in what we were promised on the back of Brexit – that agriculture funding would be replaced in full, which it hasn’t been.

“We’ve got a £93 million shortfall so we would at least be expecting that [to be reinstated], if not more.”

When pressed by Carson over what specific figure the Scottish Government would be asking for, Gougeon said that it was a conversation that needed to be had with the UK Government but that her requests for a meeting to discuss it had repeatedly been disregarded.

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George Burgess, the interim director of the Agriculture and Rural Economy Directorate in the Scottish Government, who was also giving evidence to the committee, added: “I would simply say, it’s probably not the best way to begin a negotiation by broadcasting what your starting point and your fallback is."

But Carson claimed that it was “hypocritical” for Gougeon to ask for clarity when the Scottish Government refused to state when £33 million of agriculture funding, which was deferred during last year’s Emergency Budget Review, would be spent on the sector.

The Scottish Government has previously said the money will be spent on the agricultural sector in future years.

“It’s a bit hypocritical if you can’t tell us about the £33 million shortfall never mind any other shortfall,” said Carson.

Gougeon replied: “That’s not hypocritical at all and I think you’re confusing points which aren’t remotely related.”

SNP MSP Alasdair Allan then raised a point of order, claiming that Carson was using “unparliamentary language”.

Carson added: “I would suggest the position on the £33 million isn’t unlike the uncertainty we get going forward [with UK funding of agriculture in Scotland].”

Gougeon said it wasn’t an appropriate comparison.

“I would disagree with that,” she added.

“Because £33 million will be returned to the portfolio and must be spent in the portfolio.

“Whereas, we don’t know what funding will be allocated to the portfolio or how much we will get or when that will come [from the UK Government]”.

Carson was later pressed by SNP MSP Jim Fairlie over whether his use of the word “hypocritical” was unparliamentary.

Carson replied: “I think the term hypocritical is not necessarily unparliamentary given what we were discussing.

“I think it was a hard line of questioning, I’m comfortable with that."