The UK government’s law-breaking Internal Market Bill has come under an unprecedented breadth of opposition over its threat to devolution, blatant power grab plans and moves to break international law.
Ahead of the House of Lords debating the Bill, a rare joint letter from the leaders of the UK’s Anglican Churches warned that the Bill creates a “dangerous precedent” and is particularly “disturbing” in relation to the impact on the Good Friday Agreement.
The leaders go on to say that if the Bill is pushed into law without consent of the devolved governments then it “will further undermine trust and goodwill” between the governments.
It follows a report published today by the Centre on Constitutional Change which concluded that –
The Bill “contains no provisions to guarantee high regulatory standards. Instead, it provides scope for businesses to sell products in a part of the UK that do not meet the standards set by the government in that part.
The Bill may also create incentives for governments to compete for business by lowering the standards they require of goods and services produced in their territory.”
And, that it “narrows the territorial scope of devolved legislation” and could impact on key devolved policies such as the deposit return scheme, the ban in Wales on single use plastics, and open minimum unit pricing to legal challenges.
Earlier, a House of Lords’ Constitution Committee report found that the Bill “takes power to override future devolved legislation”, and “authorises conscious and deliberate breaches of the UK’s obligations under international law.”
Commenting, the SNP’s Deputy Westminster leader Kirsten Oswald MP (pictured) said:
“The breadth of opposition to the UK government’s law-breaking Internal Market Bill is unprecedented and extraordinary.
“Despite the UK government’s rhetoric, it’s beyond any doubt that this Bill is nothing short of a power grab by Westminster.
“It will override the powers of the devolved Parliaments, undermine trust between governments, put at risk the high standards in place, and impact on key devolved policies such as minimum unit pricing and single use plastics.
“The rare joint letter from the UK’s Anglican leaders, numerous reports, as well as the growing criticisms from industry organisations, 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 doubt they cannot be trusted.
“Westminster is not acting in Scotland’s interests, and the only way to properly safeguard our interests, protect our Parliament, and strengthen standards currently in place, is by becoming an independent country.”