Holyrood set to reject UK Government plans for internal market after Brexit



HOLYROOD is today expected to reject Westminster plans to maintain the UK’s single market after Brexit on the basis they are “incompatible with devolution”.


The SNP says that in practice, because of its size, England would end up setting standards in food and other products, and the devolved nations would have to accept with them regardless of misgivings over items such as US chlorinated chicken.


The UK Government says the plans are needed to avoid trade barriers within the UK once the common system of EU law ends next year, and the four nations could in theory diverge.


The UK also wants a harmonized internal market to simplify new international trade deals.


The Scottish Government motion before MSPs today urges the UK Government to withdraw its proposals, calling them undemocratic and “detrimental to business to businesses, consumers and citizens across Scotland”.


In an indication that MSPs will reject the proposals, Labour, the Liberal Democrats and Greens have all accepted the main motion, and offered extra complaints of their own, including an inadequate four-week consultation and “contempt for the parliamentary process”.


Only the Tories have urged acceptance and cooperation between Edinburgh and London “to safeguard the integrity of the UK internal market, while also safeguarding the powers of devolved administrations to pursue competent policy divergence”.


SNP Europe Minister Jenny Gilruth is expected to tell MSPs the plans would “by-pass and constrain the Parliament and Scotland’s democratic choices”.


She will say: “The implications of this are clear and profoundly worrying and will be disastrous for devolution. This Parliament’s wishes and the democratic choices of the people of Scotland will be undermined and over-ridden.


“The UK Government wants to introduce a system where standards set by Westminster have also to be accepted in Scotland in devolved policy areas, regardless of the wishes of the people of Scotland, or the votes passed in this Parliament.


“The White Paper includes no mechanism for negotiation or agreement between the four governments of the UK. In reality, this means that the UK Government could impose decisions on the devolved governments with no right of repeal or means of redress.


As with other Brexit-related law, Westminster may choose to impose the plan despite MSPs rejecting it.