A TORY MSP has criticised the UK Government after it repeatedly snubbed a key Holyrood committee.

Holyrood’s Rural Affairs and Islands Committee, which is chaired by Conservative MSP Finlay Carson, had invited the UK’s Environment Secretary to appear on three occasions, and twice been completely ignored.

The SNP said Coffey was first sent an invite to speak to the committee about the post-Brexit developments in fishing and farming policy on November 9, 2022. The UK Government did not respond.

READ MORE: Chancellors' Holyrood snubs are 'astonishing affront to Scottish democracy'

A follow-up letter was sent on March 22, 2023, with a rejection of the invitation received the following month.

A third invitation was then sent on June 8, but a reply from a Conservative junior minister Mark Spencer on July 5 only told the committee to ask the Scotland Office.

On July 11, Carson (below) did so – but two weeks later was rebuffed by Alister Jack, who told him to ask the Environment Secretary’s department again instead.

The National: Finlay Carson MSP

In his letter dated July 27, Jack wrote: “Thank you for your letter, dated 11 July, inviting me to attend your Rural Affairs and Islands Committee to discuss the development of agriculture and fisheries policy within the UK following the UK’s departure from the EU.

“The development of these policies is a matter for which the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) have overall responsibility, and therefore would be best placed to give evidence on these important issues from a UK Government perspective.

“I hope you will therefore understand that I must decline this invitation, and suggest you revisit the possibility of inviting a Defra Minister to attend.”

The repeated snubs led to a rare example of criticism of the UK Government from a Conservative MSP.

In a statement, Carson said: “Understanding the impact on Scottish policy and budget of wider UK changes to replace the CAP [Common Agricultural Policy] is key to our effective scrutiny of the Scottish Government’s proposed agriculture bill.

“Our committee members will be less than impressed that Defra said ‘speak to the Scotland Office about giving evidence at Holyrood’, only for the Scotland Office to say ‘no speak to Defra’. “This sort of disjointed response from Whitehall is unnecessary and unhelpful.

“Our committee will consider its next steps shortly.”

The National previously reported how Tory ministers were making a "habit" of snubbing Holyrood committees.

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, and Equalities Secretary Kemi Badenoch have all rejected invitations to speak to MSPs in recent months.