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29/07/20 19:11

Parliament briefed on risks from a UK Internal Market

Constitution Secretary calls UK White Paper “disastrous for devolution”.

Constitution Secretary Michael Russell will set out how the UK Government plans for a UK Internal Market will weaken the ability of the Scottish Parliament to make distinctive laws and protect Scottish interests.

In a statement to Holyrood Mr Russell will call on MSPs to defend devolution from any attempt to remove power from the Scottish Parliament without its consent and against the wishes of the people of Scotland.

Mr Russell said:

“The UK Government says it wants to take back control from the EU. It is now clear it wants to take back control from Scotland too.

“Companies with deep pockets will be likely to try to challenge any Scottish Parliament law they say impedes their ability to trade across the UK.

“And it will mean the UK Parliament effectively imposing standards in devolved policy areas regardless of the wishes of the people of Scotland and laws passed by the Scottish Parliament.

“We know the UK Government is desperate to do a trade deal with the US - including  opening up our market to US agricultural products - threatening our valued and hard-won reputation for the highest quality food standards and produce.

“Under these proposals Scotland will be forced to accept any standards set and agreed by Westminster.

“This proposal is bad for consumers, bad for businesses and agriculture, and disastrous for devolution.”

Background

The UK Government has published plans for a ‘UK Internal Market’, once the UK leaves the EU Single Market at the end of the year. In a White Paper the UK Government makes clear it will also explicitly reserve to Westminster control of subsidies, such as State Aid.

The White Paper sets out a range of “costs of regulatory divergence” which illustrates specific devolved powers that could be affected, including food safety, minimum pricing, environmental policy and animal health and welfare. 

The Scottish Government has been working on frameworks with the UK Government, Welsh Government and Northern Ireland Executive and is committed to common standards where they are needed and make sense, with standards agreed rather than imposed by the UK Government.