United Kingdom Internal Market

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 18th August 2020.

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Photo of Dean Lockhart Dean Lockhart Conservative

I am amazed that the cabinet secretary has to ask that question. He views powers as one dimensional. Some of those additional powers relate to areas in which the Scottish Parliament already has competence, but they are additional powers nonetheless. The cabinet secretary should know that.

If the SNP had its way, it would hand back powers in Scotland’s fishing sector, thereby reversing the chance for us to become an independent coastal state, and it would hand back powers over Scottish agriculture. That is the ultimate hypocrisy of the SNP’s approach to the proposals—at a time when the UK Government wants to make this Parliament the most powerful that it has ever been, the SNP instead wants to surrender those powers back to Brussels.

The second avenue by which additional powers will come to the Scottish Parliament will be the common frameworks, which are to be agreed between the UK Government and devolved Administrations. All Administrations, quite rightly, agree that powers under the common frameworks will form a cornerstone of the UK internal market and deliver a balance between ensuring the proper functioning of the internal market and recognising competent policy divergence at devolved levels. The common frameworks will also deliver significant new powers to this Parliament in vital areas such as fishing, agriculture and public procurement.

Paragraph 16 of the Scottish Government response to the white paper anticipates that six common frameworks applicable to Scotland

“will be fully ... implemented by the end of” this year,

“with provisional frameworks being established in 25 remaining policy areas”.

We hope that that is the case, and we will work with the Scottish Government to achieve those outcomes. Earlier today, I spoke to the NFUS, and the minister is right to say that its absolute priority is for the common frameworks on agriculture to be agreed to secure common standards and regulatory divergence in that sector. However, that will be possible only if the Scottish Government takes a new constructive approach. The cabinet secretary’s decision to walk away from the common framework discussions 18 months ago represented a massive lost opportunity to progress those frameworks. I encourage—