United Kingdom Internal Market Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 9:48 pm on 14th September 2020.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Michael Gove Michael Gove Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster 9:48 pm, 14th September 2020

It is always a pleasure to follow Rachel Reeves, who always makes her case with clarity, with force and from principle. I know that everyone who listened to her speech will have recognised the powerful case that she was making. I did not agree with everything that she said, but I am sure everyone in the House recognises that she is a strong and effective advocate for her party and her principles.

I thank all those who spoke in this debate. We had more than 60 speeches, all of them I think contributing to the reputation of this House. We had very thoughtful speeches of course from a variety of Select Committee Chairs and also some very passionate speeches, including, as the hon. Lady mentioned, from Colum Eastwood and Sammy Wilson. Those two representatives of Northern Ireland constituencies took passionately different views on the merits of this legislation. It is that very passion and, indeed, the importance of democracy, not just to Northern Ireland but to the whole United Kingdom, that means we should all try to look calmly at the Bill before voting tonight and before looking at the various amendments that may be tabled in Committee.

It is important that I remind the House of what the Bill does and what it does not do, as well has how, together, we can address the legitimate concerns that have been raised in good faith by hon. Members. The Bill protects, enhances and strengthens our Union and the prosperity of all our people. It is all the more crucial that we take these steps as we recover from the dreadful covid-19 pandemic. We need to work together as one United Kingdom, displaying solidarity and resolve, to ensure that the prosperity that we generate is shared for all the people we represent. It is a fact that each of the parts of the United Kingdom trade more with each other than with anyone else. It is a fact that each of the peoples of the United Kingdom rely more on each other than anyone else. All the peoples of the United Kingdom are stronger when we work together, act together and stick together.

No one summed up the essence of the Bill better than my hon. Friend Douglas Ross. He said it is a Bill about jobs and businesses. As he reminded us, some 545,000 jobs in Scotland rely on the integrity of our internal market. He reminded us that, coincident with this Bill, there is a power surge for all the devolved Administrations, with hundreds of powers going to the devolved Assemblies to strengthen devolution. He also stressed that the importance of devolution was that all our citizens could see our Governments working together—the United Kingdom Government working with the Northern Ireland Executive, the Senedd in Wales and, of course, the Scottish Government.