Parliament should have the opportunity to scrutinise and agree all UK Common Frameworks, says Finance and Constitution Committee

25.03.2019

The Scottish Parliament should have the opportunity to scrutinise and agree all UK Common frameworks says Holyrood’s Finance and Constitution Committee.

In its report published today on delivering common policy areas across the devolved nations of the UK, MSPs recommend that an opportunity must be provided for all legislative and non-legislative frameworks to be brought before the Scottish Parliament for consultation and agreement. 

The committee also restates its view that frameworks must be reached through a process of negotiation and not imposed on devolved governments.

Finance & Constitution Committee Convener Bruce Crawford MSP said:

“If the UK exits from the EU, under whatever the terms, common frameworks will be required to deliver common policy and regulatory approaches in some areas currently governed by the EU.

“The Parliaments and Assemblies of the UK are key to providing transparency, scrutiny and accountability, so we’re firmly of the view that the Scottish Parliament should have a formal role in relation to the process for developing, agreeing and implementing legislative and non-legislative common frameworks.”

“We commit to work with the Scottish Government to develop such processes.”

Mr Crawford added:

“We welcome the progress being made with common frameworks on the basis of negotiation and agreement between the UK and Scottish Governments.

“We strongly believe that common frameworks must be arrived at through agreement and not imposed.  Key to this is resolving by negotiation the extent to which policy divergence can exist within common frameworks.”

“Whilst work is underway to define the UK internal market, a key purpose of frameworks, we are clear that enabling such a market to function must not be at the cost of adjusting devolved competencies without consent from the Scottish Government and Parliament.”

Calling for more urgency in reviewing working relations between governments, the Committee’s Deputy Convener, Professor Adam Tomkins said:
 
“A robust and trusted process of intergovernmental relations - especially dispute resolution - is also vital to reaching agreement on frameworks.
 
“Parliamentary committees across the UK consider the Joint Ministerial Committee mechanism not fit for purpose. The Interparliamentary Forum on Brexit, which includes the Commons, the Lords, the National Assembly of Wales and ourselves, has already called for more effective intergovernmental and interparliamentary mechanisms to examine common frameworks and to deliver greater transparency.
 
“As we heard during our inquiry, however, the current review of IGR appears to have stalled and we therefore recommend it is taken forward urgently.”

Background information

Find the committee’s full report here.

 

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