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

Part of United Kingdom Internal Market Bill – in the House of Commons at 3:45 pm on 15th September 2020.

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Photo of Alexander Stafford Alexander Stafford Conservative, Rother Valley 3:45 pm, 15th September 2020

I completely agree—this is an economic thing. In fact, I am about to talk about clause 38, which brings me on to answer my hon. Friend’s point. Clause 38 says that the CMA is able to choose between a number of penalties to punish non-compliance, which is good, but is unable to levy a penalty against national or devolved Governments. It can therefore never be a stranglehold on Governments and can never be used as a tool between Governments; it is not going to bash the English Government or the Welsh Government or the Scottish Government. The CMA is actually a business body. This is not a political Bill but a Bill for business, because business will bring us together. Fundamentally, the Acts of Union of 1707 came together over business. Lest we forget, after Scotland’s failed colonial project in Panama, when Scotland went bankrupt, we had to come together to promote business. That is why the Acts of Union happened. This helps to create business.

Ultimately, the Bill ensures that high standards are protected across the whole UK. Our legislation will maintain consistently high standards across every part of it, promoting co-operation between the UK Parliament and the devolved legislatures. There will be no diminution of our food hygiene or animal welfare standards. I know that the people of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland do not buy into this nationalistic, manufactured hysteria. Scottish National party Members claim to represent all the people of Scotland. No, they do not. They represent their own views, and those of many people —I grant them that; many people want independence—but not the whole of Scotland. What represents the whole of Scotland support for business.