Internal Market

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 30th July 2020.

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Photo of Michael Russell Michael Russell Scottish National Party

I will deal with the second question first. The SNP wants Scotland to be in the main stream of Europe—to be a member of the European Union. Moreover, that is what the people of Scotland want, because that is what they voted for and what they have repeatedly voted for. If Murdo Fraser is not happy to be part of a community of 27 nations—with our joining, there would be 28—that freely shares decision making, he is entitled to that opinion.

However, not a single European nation in the single market would be treated or has been treated in the way that the UK intends to treat Scotland through the white paper. That is clear from the analysis by David Edward that I quoted. The reality is that there is no proportionality, no subsidiarity, no question of minimum standards and no question of national interest prevailing when it comes to decisions. It is purely a case of the UK Government saying, “Take it or leave it, because we know what we’re going to do.”

With regard to his first question, Murdo Fraser’s line is not an original line—it was Michael Gove’s line last week and it continues to be Michael Gove’s line; I am sure that Murdo Fraser enjoys quoting it. However, I could give examples of the kind that he asked for all afternoon—in fact, I should probably simply take schedule 5 of the Scotland Act 1998, read out what is reserved and then talk about everything else, because every single power that the Scottish Parliament has can be undermined and taken away by the UK Government’s proposals.

I have mentioned food standards, but I go back to what I said in my statement, because it is clear that Murdo Fraser was not listening. Other examples are deposit return schemes, food labelling, food manufacture, food hygiene, recycling, animal welfare, environmental matters such as pesticides, minimum pricing, and building regulations and the granting of construction permits. [Interruption.] All those examples are given in the white paper, so my advice to Murdo Fraser and to Michael Gove is to read their own white paper, because it lists the areas in which powers are going to be taken away.