Leaving the Eu: Security, Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:53 pm on 18th January 2017.

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Photo of Tommy Sheppard Tommy Sheppard Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Cabinet Office) 4:53 pm, 18th January 2017

Indeed. Members will think that we prepared that exchange, but we did not. It is worth quoting the Secretary of State for Scotland, who said in June last year, just after the Brexit vote:

“My role is to ensure Scotland gets the best possible deal and that deal involves clearly being part of the single market.”

Those are not my words, but the words of the Conservative Secretary of State for Scotland. Of course, he might have changed his mind in the months since then.

The Scottish Government’s document suggests that there are three levels of legislation that should be looked at when considering how we manage Brexit within these islands. I hope that no one would suggest that a constitutional decision of such magnitude as to withdraw this country from its main international association can be done without having any effect on the constitutional arrangements within the county—it is obvious that that will be the case. There will have to be, either as part of the great repeal Bill or in a Scottish Bill, some provision to give new powers to the Scottish Parliament.

The Scottish Government believe that those powers fall into three areas. First, there are some areas in which the Scottish Government already have competence that are going to be repatriated straight from Brussels. We should make sure that they go straight to Holyrood without stopping at Westminster on the way. Secondly, there are areas of additional legislative competence that should be given to the Scottish Government when they are devolved from Brussels, particularly in the field of employment legislation and, indeed, some immigration matters. Thirdly, if we can persuade the United Kingdom Government to consent to and support the idea of arrangements in Scotland being different, but still consistent with leaving the EU, we will need a legislative competence Bill that allows the Scottish Government to form future relationships.

The matters we are discussing in this debate very much fall into the first category I described, albeit perhaps with the exception of security. Criminal justice and law enforcement are areas in which the Scottish Government already have competence, so the repatriation of powers should see that competence expanded.

Will the Minister tell us what dialogue is taking place between Ministers of the Crown here at Westminster and their Scottish counterparts about how the arrangements I have referred to should be made? They will involve matters of great detail that require great expertise, so it would seem rather ridiculous simply to say that this is all a matter for the Department for Exiting the European Union. We need to explore in some detail criminal justice and law enforcement, and how the relationship for the special aspects of Police Scotland in terms of the security system will work following Brexit. That should not be left to the Brexit Department; it should properly be a matter for the Home Department. When he responds, I hope the Minister will set out not only that the Government intend to have that dialogue, but suggestions about how it might take place.