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 have given way enough, thank you.

That is why the third area of powers that are coming to this Parliament will come through the internal market proposals. Under those proposals, additional powers will come to the Parliament in areas that were previously regulated by the EU but which will now sit outside the common frameworks.

The proposals are based on two fundamental principles: supporting trade across the UK, and mutual recognition and non-discrimination. The mutual recognition principle has been described by the Scottish Parliament information centre as reflecting the

“EU approach for ... goods by proposing that any good which meets the rules and standards required in one of the UK’s nations should as a result be able to be sold in any of the four nations.”

Earlier this week, the CBI welcomed the principles as being essential for business operating across the UK. It also highlighted that there will have to be a number of exemptions from the principles of mutual recognition and non-discrimination in order to reflect regulatory divergence across the four nations on grounds of public policy, public health, environmental protection or otherwise. I again call on the Scottish Government to work constructively with the UK Government and business organisations to agree what those exemptions will apply to.

The internal market proposals represent a dynamic approach to safeguarding the integrity of the UK internal market, while safeguarding the powers of the devolved Administrations to pursue competent policy divergence.

In order to put the issue beyond doubt, the white paper expressly recognises that each devolved Parliament will continue to be able to legislate on a basis appropriate for its jurisdiction. Alok Sharma made that clear in the white paper when he said:

“These principles will not undermine devolution, they will simply prevent any part of the UK from blocking products or services from another part while protecting devolved powers to innovate”.