Brexit: Michael Russell on Scotland’s future in UK Internal Market
The European Union (Continuity) Scotland Bill aims to give SNP ministers the power to align Scottish laws with those of the EU after Brexit. It is expected to become law next week. It also ensures Scottish Ministers and public bodies pay attention to environmental principles when they make policies.
But the UK Government has expressed concerns about the Bill with London warning it could create barriers to trade.
A Whitehall source told Express.co.uk the laws showed “ignorance” from the SNP-led administration in Edinburgh.
He added: “This legislation will cause significant problems and will not work with Westminster policy.
“It goes against creating a secure UK trade market after the end of the transition period and putting up trade barriers.”
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They stressed it was a clear sign of “trying to rip up” the UK on policy matters.
Dean Lockhart, the Scottish Conservatives’ constitution spokesman, has also lodged amendments to the controversial legislation ahead of the final Holyrood debate and vote next week.
Mr Lockhart has urged SNP ministers to insert clauses which would require ministers to consult Parliament.
He claimed the bill “betrays the Scottish Parliament’s role in making laws”.
Mr Lockhart claimed Scotland would be “forced to accept laws made in Brussels at the whim of SNP ministers, without proper parliamentary scrutiny”.
It comes at the same time as the publication of a Holyrood Committee report exploring the “EU-UK Government Future Relationship Negotiations: The Impact of the End of the Transition Period”, which recommended Scottish policy should align closely with Brussels.
The report said: “The Committee recommends that the Scottish Government should be benchmarking performance across all portfolios against performance in EU Member States in order to assess the economic, social and cultural impacts of the loss of EU membership and ensure that a broader comparative perspective is not lost in Scottish policy-making.
“In addition, the Committee considers that in order to minimise divergence and ease trading relationships for Scottish companies that the Scottish Government should maintain alignment with EU rules and regulations wherever possible.
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“In this regard, the Committee notes the inclusion of a ‘keeping pace’ power in the European Union (Continuity) (Scotland) Bill.”
Scotland has been keen to remain close to the EU with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon sending a message to EU members in an interview this week about the importance of Scotland joining the bloc if it became independent.
Addressing European journalists on Friday, Ms Sturgeon said: “Many voices in the EU say that Scotland has been a member for more than 40 years and meets all standards and regulations.
“We think that we are a unique case for quick accession to the EU.
“Scotland is coming home, this is not a new beginning.
“We can act as a bridge between the UK and the EU, bringing people together.”
A Scottish Government spokesperson stressed the laws were “designed to ensure certainty, stability and predictability for people in Scotland and those who do business here and in Europe, and to ensure that Scotland’s environmental standards can keep pace with those in the EU level.”
“Any regulations will be subject to Parliamentary scrutiny in the normal way.”
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