The Scottish Parliament should not give consent to the UK Internal Market Bill, says Holyrood’s Finance & Constitution Committee

06.10.2020

Holyrood’s Finance & Constitution Committee has recommended that the Scottish Parliament should not give consent to the UK Internal Market Bill.

In findings published today, the Committee’s says the Internal Market Bill - and its market access principles in particular - undermine the whole basis of devolution. 

The committee says it is “dismayed” by the UK’s Government’s “hierarchical” approach which will impose new limitations on devolution that go “way beyond” the previous limitations of EU membership.

The Scottish Parliament is set to hold a debate on the UK Internal Market Bill in less than 24 hours.  The committee says it is regrettable that the UK Government has sought an accelerated legislative timetable for the “highly complex and challenging” Internal Market Bill.

In a letter sent to both the UK and Scottish Governments today, Finance & Constitution Committee Convener Bruce Crawford MSP said:
 
“The Committee previously recommended that there is an onus on all four governments and legislatures across the UK to work constructively together to seek a solution to this complex and challenging issue.  The Committee also recommended that this must be achieved through mutual trust and respect for the existing constitutional arrangements within the UK. 

“The Committee concludes that it is highly regrettable that this has not happened.  The Committee is dismayed that the UK Government has instead adopted a hierarchical approach through which its default position is to impose new limitations on devolution which go way beyond the previous limitations of EU membership. 

“...The Committee’s view is that the Internal Market Bill and the market access principles in particular undermines the whole basis of devolution.  The Committee’s view is that devolution cannot work on the basis of the Westminster Government imposing its view of how the UK’s constitutional arrangements should evolve following Brexit as illustrated by both the substance and delivery of the Internal Market Bill. 

“The Committee therefore recommends that the Parliament does not agree consent to the UK Internal Market Bill.”

Murdo Fraser MSP, Dean Lockhart MSP and Alexander Burnett MSP dissented to the committee's findings.


Background information
 
The full text of the letter summarising the Finance & Constitution Committee’s scrutiny of the UK Internal Market Bill and the Scottish Government’s Legislative Consent Memorandum can be found here.

The motion for debate in the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday 7 October states:

Internal Market Bill - UK Legislation

That the Parliament agrees not to consent to the United Kingdom Internal Market Bill, as it reduces and constrains the competence of the Scottish Parliament and breaches international law.

 
Media contact
Eric MacLeod

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