United Kingdom Internal Market Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 7:57 pm on 14th September 2020.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of John Lamont John Lamont Conservative, Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk 7:57 pm, 14th September 2020

I am grateful for that point and completely agree with my hon. Friend. The Bill not only protects jobs but strengthens the bonds of the Union that ties the United Kingdom together. As well as remembering the history, we must understand what devolution is in the United Kingdom. It is a means of giving people in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland the freedom to craft policies and take decisions on matters that affect them, while continuing to derive all the benefits of membership of a unitary United Kingdom. Right from the very beginning, it has been a central assumption of devolution that matters essential to the operation of the United Kingdom would be decided at UK level.

This Parliament is the democratic embodiment of the United Kingdom, and it contains Members who have been elected on an equal basis and who represent every square inch of the United Kingdom. It is here that decisions affecting the UK as a whole should be taken, just as those that affect the whole of the European Union are taken in Brussels—a fact with which very few Opposition Members had any problems at the time. That inconsistency speaks volumes, especially when the net effect of Brexit will be a massive increase in devolved powers, including those on air quality, energy efficiency and elements of employment law. It is a further irony that SNP policy is to hand those new powers straight back to Brussels at the first available opportunity.