United Kingdom Internal Market

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

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Photo of Michael Russell Michael Russell Scottish National Party

The record will show that I withdrew our officials from the discussions on the internal market because I believed that those discussions would lead to a proposal that would undermine devolution. I was right to believe that—it has proved to be exactly as I said it would be. Indeed, I should be thanked for having taken that action.

I have never walked away from a discussion on frameworks. As I said to the committee last week, if there is a will in the UK Government not to impose on the Scottish Parliament, the Welsh Parliament or the Northern Ireland Assembly but to sit down and continue the discussion on frameworks, I make another offer, which is that there will be no changes to the arrangements. I believe that the proposals are looking for a problem that does not exist. Those frameworks will operate as if they were in place until they are in place. I commit myself to that, as I am sure the other Governments would.

Here is an opportunity for Mr Lockhart—he does not yet seem willing to take it, but I hope that he will. Let him go to the people for whom he speaks elsewhere and say to them, “Look, this is the wrong set of proposals. It is not just the Scottish Parliament that says so—the vast range of stakeholders in Scotland say so. Let us find a better way forward.”

Cometh the hour, cometh the man. Today, that man is Adam Tomkins. I hope that his party is listening to him.