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

Part of United Kingdom Internal Market Bill – in the House of Commons at 3:30 pm on 15th September 2020.

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Photo of Alyn Smith Alyn Smith Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) 3:30 pm, 15th September 2020

I take the point that the hon. Gentleman makes. He accuses me of promoting the case for independence and, indeed, I do promote the case for independence, but Government Members need to be in no doubt that a substantial element of the population of Scotland is deeply disgusted by this process. They are frustrated by the disrespect that Scotland has been shown since the EU referendum, where we rejected Brexit significantly, but were told to shut up and get back in our box. Just after the 2014 referendum, we were told we were a partnership of equals, but we were then told immediately afterwards that we are part of the United Kingdom, not a partner in it. The Bill makes that explicit in the eyes of the people of Scotland.

I won Stirling from the Conservatives with 51% of the vote precisely because I am in favour of the rule of law and international solidarity, as demonstrated by the multilateral, binding, voluntary solidarity of the European Union. That is a structure we are comfortable with and a structure we are very comfortable with Scotland fitting into in the future. Dare I say it, but Scotland has a far sharper sense of its place in the world than the UK does right now.

This Bill seeks to cement power in the hands of the unelected, aided and abetted by people who—with good intentions, I do not doubt—are facilitating that power grab, but in so doing are upending the principle of devolution that is dear to the hearts of the people of Scotland and Wales and is deeply sensitive in Northern Ireland. When the hon. Gentleman says I am promoting the cause of independence, damn right I am, but I am also defending constitutional probity in the rule of law within the United Kingdom. Perhaps Government Members need to think a little harder about what they are being whipped through the Lobby to support.

To conclude, our amendments seek in good faith to insert into this package, which we dislike so much, the principle of consent of the Scottish Parliament and the devolved Administrations. Failing that, we seek to exempt Scotland from this madness. I urge Members to support the rule of law and democracy within these islands.