A scathing new report has criticised the Tory government’s law-breaking Internal Market Bill and echoed warnings that the Bill sets up for an attempted power grab against the devolved Parliaments.
In further mounting evidence over the dangers of the Bill, the report published today by the House of Lords’ Constitution Committee also warned that it “authorises conscious and deliberate breaches of the UK’s obligations under international law.”
In its findings, the Committee concluded that –
– “We are not convinced that opportunities for managing the UK internal market through the common frameworks process have been exhausted. This contributes to our doubts about the necessity for the Bill.”
– The Bill “provides the UK Government with powers that could allow it to alter the competences of the devolved administrations in significant ways.”
– The Bill “takes power to override future devolved legislation. As such, it would limit the scope for the devolved administrations to pursue policy divergence…”
– The UK government must explain “why such a broad power for the UK Government to spend money in devolved territories has been included in this Bill.”
– And, that the delegated powers in the Bill “are ‘extraordinary’ and ‘unprecedented’, and many of them are constitutionally unacceptable.”
Commenting, the SNP’s Shadow Scotland Secretary Mhairi Black MP said:
“Not for the first time has the Tory government’s law-breaking Internal Market Bill been criticised for its dangerous and unprecedented attempts to undermine devolution and override the democratic decisions of the devolved Parliaments.
“This damning report not only warns of the threat to the devolution settlement and calls out the Tories’ attempts to legislate over devolved matters, or the fact that Bill allows for ‘deliberate’ and ‘conscious’ breaches of international law, but it questions the need for the Internal Market Bill entirely given the UK government’s failure to go through the common frameworks process that’s already in place.
“It’s clear from the report’s conclusions that had the UK government gone through the already set-up common frameworks process, then it would ‘obviate’ the need for the Bill.
“Scotland has been entirely bypassed throughout this process and it’s no secret that the Tories are laying the groundwork for an unprecedented power grab against the devolved governments.
“This report comprehensively takes apart the Tories deceitful claim that the Bill does not undermine devolution.
“it demonstrates once and for all the Tories true power grab intent and shows beyond all doubt they cannot be trusted.
“The Scottish Parliament has already decisively voted to reject granting consent for the deeply damaging Bill and the unprecedented threat to the Scottish Parliament’s powers.
“It’s clear beyond any doubt that Westminster is not acting in Scotland’s interests, and that the only way to properly safeguard our interests, protect our Parliament, and strengthen standards currently in place, is by becoming an independent country.”