Scottish Conservatives have backed UK Government moves to loosen the restraints on biotechnology, and called on Scotland's SNP-Green Government to embrace the gene-editing of crops in order to tackle climate change.

Scottish Conservative Shadow Rural Affairs and Islands Secretary Rachael Hamilton raised the issue with Nicola Sturgeon at First Ministers Questions, quoting NFU Scotland policy manager David Michie, who had said that gene-editing could benefit animal welfare, public health, the environment and farmers. In response, Nicola Sturgeon said she hadn’t seen the comments in full but would ‘consider them’

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Ms Hamilton said: “The SNP-Green Government would clearly prefer to be dictated to by Brussels on crop innovation, rather than helping Scottish farmers grasp the immense opportunities at stake. They are on the back foot on this issue.

“Gene-editing crops has the potential to reduce costs, reduce fertiliser application, reduce carbon emissions, improve water quality and boost food production. However, we see grievance and nationalism come before the science and innovation of enhancing Scottish agriculture.

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“The SNP wants to simply hand powers back to the European Union, which will put Scottish farmers at a disadvantage compared to farmers across the rest of the UK," alleged Ms Hamilton. "With the SNP-Green Government, it is never about putting the interests of farming first. Their narrow minded obsession with independence trumps everything else. Their stance flies in the face of embracing new technology to boost productivity, efficiency and environmentalism." among our agriculture sector.”