Clause 28 - Functions of the CMA under this Part: general provisions

Part of United Kingdom Internal Market Bill – in the House of Commons at 3:15 pm on 15th September 2020.

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Photo of Alyn Smith Alyn Smith Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) 3:15 pm, 15th September 2020

It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Sir Graham. This Bill is difficult for the Scottish National party. It is offensive to our values, it is not our world view, and it is being introduced in pursuit of a project that Scotland comprehensively rejected. We are engaging in good faith, but we do not consent to this project. Scotland does not consent to the way the Bill is drafted.

However, I was not sent by the people of Stirling to showboat and walk away, or to grandstand and not try to find solutions. As is typical of all our amendments, we have tabled amendments 28 and 29 in good faith, and to insert into this dreadful Bill the principle of consent from the Scottish Parliament and other devolved Administrations. If we cannot do that, we seek to exempt Scotland from this madness. We are engaging in this process in good faith. We are working within the constitutional reality of the United Kingdom, and by rejecting the amendments, this House will prove, in full view of the people of Scotland, that the constitutional reality of the United Kingdom does not work for us.

I was sent here to try to find solutions, and amendments 28 and 29 do that. We believe that decisions for Scotland should be made in Scotland. It is a fundamental principle of devolution that, unless reserved to this place, decisions should be made by the democratically elected Parliament of Scotland. That principle was endorsed by the people of Scotland with 74% of the vote in 1997, and those Government Members who are keen on referendums should be aware that they are up-ending a deeply held principle of the people of Scotland.

As I have said, this Bill is a poor piece of legislation, and it did not need to be this way—that is what I find so frustrating. It is offensive morally, politically, even intellectually, but it did not need to be that way. We are open to negotiation and to frameworks. We respect the fact that we have left the European Union—we regret it deeply, but it has happened. As a solicitor by trade, I accept that a domestic legal construct is needed to replace the single market legislation of the European Union, but it does not need to be this abomination. We could do this better. Our amendments seek to make this bad Bill better. We will still not be keen or in favour of it, but it does not need to be the naked power-grab that it is.

Part 4 of the Bill seeks to replace 60 years of juris- prudence from the European Court of Justice and the European Commission, democratically overseen by democratically elected Members of the European Parliament, and member state Governments who are themselves democratically elected—60 years of expertise on how the single market and internal competition works.