Scottish Devolution and Article 50

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 4:54 pm on 15th March 2017.

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Photo of Ian Murray Ian Murray Labour, Edinburgh South 4:54 pm, 15th March 2017

I am glad that the hon. Gentleman made that point, although my response will not necessarily be on the complicated nature of what he determined in his intervention; rather, it will be on how crucial it is for both Governments to work together. Unless both Governments work together, all the negotiations that are happening on trade deals or otherwise will be incredibly difficult to resolve. Given that Scotland and other regions and nations of the UK have some significant products that are of a singular nature to those particular geographical areas, we will have to work together.

Agriculture is one of three or four big areas where we need some kind of working together to ensure that this works properly. Take, for example, cattle movement across borders, which is a hugely complicated and difficult thing. It is about not only the cattle themselves and their welfare but the spread of disease and other issues. We will need some kind of working together and a framework to allow that to happen. While repatriation and devolution should be the principle, we should do this in a systematic way, not only for the benefit of the country and ensuring that this works properly, but for the benefit of the practitioners in all those areas—whether it be the environment, agriculture or fisheries—that will be repatriated and devolved.

Finally, it is not only about devolution; a cheque has to go with it. It cannot just be devolution of power without the devolution of the money. If we take agriculture as an example, again, Scotland gets 16% or 17% of UK agricultural spending in the round. That would have to travel with the devolved powers, which is why I think we need to be quite careful that the frameworks in place for each of those big items are dealt with properly.