Brexit Used as Cover for Power Grab on Holyrood

Ruth Maguire MSP has repeated calls from the Scottish Government for Westminster to scrap a proposed law which has been described as an effort to undermine devolution.

Constitution Secretary, Michael Russell wrote to the Cabinet Office minister, Michael Gove, to urge the UK Government to shelf the proposed enshrinement of the “UK internal market”.

Concerns have been raised over the proposed creation of an unelected external body which would ‘test’ legislation created by the Scottish Government’s impact on the UK internal market.

The legislation also proposes a new “mutual recognition regime” that could require regulatory standards in one part of the UK to be automatically accepted in others, raising concerns that the Scottish Government could be forced to adopt lower than acceptable standards.

The SNP MSP said: “The proposed legislation to enshrine the UK internal market in law is a naked attempt to undermine the Scottish Government, and by extension, the choices of the Scottish electorate.

“Any efforts to roll back the powers granted by devolution should be robustly challenged and I’m grateful for the Constitution Secretary writing this formally to the UK Government.”

Michael Russell said: “The Tories know they can’t win an election to the Scottish Parliament so have come up with a scheme to undermine it instead.

“They are plotting, in an underhand manner, to introduce a new law which would effectively hand power to Tory ministers in devolved policy areas, under the guise of protecting they call the so-called UK internal market after Brexit.

“If this law had been in force, our ability to keep tuition free for students in Scotland while charging students from the rest of the UK, to set a minimum unit price for alcohol or introduce a smoking ban before the rest of the UK, could all have been in jeopardy.

“This scheme amounts to using Brexit as a cover to mount the biggest power grab on the Scottish Parliament yet and we will do all we can to stop it from happening.”

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