News

UK Internal Market Bill

Published: 08 Sep 2020 17:45

Scottish Government consent impossible.

The Scottish Government has said it is impossible to recommend the Scottish Parliament gives consent to the UK Government’s Internal Market bill.

The bill, which will be published by the UK Government tomorrow, engages the Sewel Convention, and therefore the UK’s constitutional rules require the consent of Holyrood.

Constitution Secretary Michael Russell said if the UK Government refuses to respect the will of the Scottish Parliament it will demonstrate once more that the UK's constitution provides no protection to the devolution settlement and the UK Government can ignore the rules whenever it chooses.

Mr Russell said there is no mechanism to challenge such disregard for accepted practice, demonstrating the UK is “not a genuine partnership of equals”.

Mr Russell said:

“It beggars belief that the UK Government is asking the Scottish Government to recommend consent to the Internal Market Bill. This is not a genuine partnership of equals and we couldn’t recommend consent to a Bill that undermines devolution and the Scottish Parliament, and which, by the UK Government's own admission, is going to break international law.

“This is a shabby blueprint that will open the door to bad trade deals and unleashes an assault on devolution the like we have not experienced since the Scottish Parliament was established. We cannot, and will not, allow that to happen.

“It will open the door to a race to the bottom on food standards, environmental standards and will endanger key public health policies such as minimum unit pricing. It will also deliver a hammer blow to the Scottish economy by making it harder for the UK Government to conclude Free Trade agreements if other countries think the UK won’t meet its obligations.

“As each day passes, it becomes clearer that the people of Scotland deserve the right to choose a better direction, to determine their own future. That is why, before the end of this parliament, we will set out the terms of a future independence referendum clearly and unambiguously to the people of Scotland, in a draft referendum bill.”