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

I am very grateful for the point, and I very strongly agree. We do not know who these people are going to be. We do not know how they are going to be appointed and, forgive me, but from the track record of the Government thus far, I have little faith in who they are going to be and what their agendas will be in practice. Our concern is about the lack of power that the people of Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and, indeed, England will have over that process—and, indeed, this Parliament. The oversight that this Parliament will have over this process under the very text of the Bill, which is a wider discussion than these amendments, is appalling, but it did not need to be this way.

We heard earlier in the debate from some Conservative Members that there should be uniform standards across the UK. It is a superficially appealing point as superficial arguments go, which seem to be what Conservative Members deal in, but the single market within the European Union operates very successfully with different standards. The whole point of devolution is that different places are empowered to make different decisions, so there may well be different standards, different practices, different expectations or different rules in different parts of the four home nations. That is the point. This Bill is a mechanism—a political mechanism—to override and destroy that democratic diversity and replace it with devolution as power retained. It is a naked power-grab for all to see, and I would urge people outside this House to read the Bill carefully, because it makes the case for independence for Scotland all the stronger.