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Conservative MSP Dean Lockhart was involved in a fierce clash with SNP Cabinet Secretary Mike Russell over Brexit and the Internal Market Bill in Scottish Parliament. Mr Lockhart swiftly fired back after Mr Russell questioned whether it would be “better to remain in the EU”.
Mr Russell said: “Would it not be better to remain in the EU which gets rid of all these problems?
“It would help all of us and mean that the recession we are facing would not be made worse by Brexit – because it will be.”
Mr Lockhart snapped back: “When it comes to the internal market as we have debated before, common frameworks will form the bedrock for internal market trade.
“It was unfortunate that you walked away from negations on the internal market guidelines.
“By keeping pace with some, but not all, future EU laws, this legislation will require firms in Scotland to comply with divergent regulations including devolved law that keeps pace, devolved law that does not and different regulations in the UK which no longer follow EU regulations.”
The UK Government’s Internal Market proposals have been criticised by the devolved governments in Scotland and Wales.
They fear that the proposals could leave them unable to veto UK Government decisions.
This is because the proposals will see powers in at least 70 policy areas previously controlled by the EU flow to Westminster instead of to Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast.
The plans also mean regulatory standards in one part of the UK must be automatically accepted in others.
Mr Russell was involved in another furious encounter with Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser regarding accusations of a “power grab” in the Scottish Government’s latest Brexit Bill.
Mr Fraser said: “It was stated in evidence to the Finance and Constitution Committee that this bill creates a substantial ‘Henry VIII power’.
“It’s taking power away from this Parliament and giving it to Scottish ministers.
“The Cabinet Secretary would be apoplectic if the UK Government were to do this.
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“So why is it alright for him?”
Mr Russell replied: “I would be in a state of permanent apoplexy if I thought about the amount of that, that is done.
“Well I am only in a state of permanent apoplexy because I am faced with people like Murdo Fraser too often, I have to say.
He added: “So please do not patronise this chamber by pretending there is an interest in the powers.
“The powers are being grabbed by the party Mr Fraser is a member of.”
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