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 agree. Alex Rowley made two very significant points. The first one is that the negotiations on the frameworks continue. It would be perfectly possible—to use that favourite word of the Tories—to “intensify” those negotiations to complete that task before the end of the year. There would be no difficulty in so doing.

The number of common frameworks that we agreed that we would need is 24. Although there is a difference on state aid, we could get all that work finished. Indeed, I know that it is also the Welsh Government’s view that we could do that job. We will be part of that; what we will not be part of and what we will not allow to happen is a power grab.

I want to dwell on Alex Rowley’s second point, which was about public services. Yesterday in the House of Lords, Martin Callanan, answering questions from Dafydd Wigley, gave the game away. When asked whether there was any dispute resolution procedure in the proposals, he said that there was a fine court system—I presume that he was referring to the English court system; I am not sure that he knew that there was a Scottish court system—which could have its place.

That would open the door to any company—particularly one that came to the country after a trade deal had been reached—to say that it was not fair that it was not allowed to compete for public services in Scotland, because it was allowed to compete for them south of the border. Companies will insist on being able to do so in Scotland.

Unfortunately, the courts will be used by such unscrupulous companies to undermine Scottish public services. Why? Because the Tories are going to allow it to happen—indeed, they are going to encourage it.