Alister Jack has claimed Scotland “does not want to be part of the European Union” and knows the country’s “home is within the United Kingdom”.
The Scotland secretary made the claim when quizzed on the impact of Brexit on individuals, businesses, universities and public services in the House of Commons.
Jack, who backed leaving the EU in the 2016 vote, said Scots would choose the UK over the European block if they “stopped to think” about leaving the union.
The SNP’s Dr Philippa Whitford cited a new poll which suggested almost 70% of voters wanted to rejoin the EU.
Around 62% of Scots backed remaining within the European community in the ballot, while remain topped the vote in every single council area across the country.
But Jack insisted that Scotland now saw its future outside the EU framework, adding: “There’s no desire in Scotland to have membership of the EU, I believe Scots when they stop and look at the detail, whether it’s on their pensions, whether it’s on trade, whether it’s on currency, they stop, they think about it and they know that their home is the UK.
“What I would say about the benefits of Brexit, we can make our own trade deals and we’ve made 71 to date.”
Jack also rejected suggestions from Dr Whitford that becoming an independent country was the only way for Scotland to maintain a relationship with the rest of Europe.
“My colleagues have highlighted just some of the negative impacts of Brexit on individuals, businesses, universities and public services in Scotland,” Dr Whitford said.
“There simply are no real Brexit opportunities or sunlit uplands. So does it come as a surprise to the secretary of state that a poll last year showed 69% of Scottish voters want to rejoin the EU?
She added: “With the Labour Party having now lashed itself to the mast of the floundering Brexit ship, does the secretary of state at least recognise the only route back to the EU for Scotland is an independent country?”
Jack responded: “The deficit in Scotland is considerably higher than the 3% which is the Maastricht criteria, that is not the route back.
“The currency is a problem as well because, as we know, the Bank of England is the bank of last resort and there would have to be a new currency in Scotland followed by membership of the EU.”