UK goes ahead with Internal Market Bill without consent from Wales or Scotland


THE UK Government is pushing ahead with the Internal Market Bill despite it not receiving consent from Wales or Scotland.

In a written statement to the Commons Small Business Minister Paul Scully said the Sewel Convention – which states that the UK Government will “not normally” legislate in devolved areas without consent from the devolved parliaments – envisages situations where Westminster may need to legislate for the “whole country”.

He wrote: “The exceptional circumstances of our departure from the EU, and the need to provide a UK-wide legal underpinning for the internal market, is clearly one such situation.”

He insisted that the Tory Government is “fully committed to the Sewel Convention and the associated practices for seeking consent”.

READ MORE: WATCH: SNP MP suspended from Commons after objections to Tory Brexit bill

Back in October MSPs voted not to consent to the Internal Market Bill by 90 to 28, with only Scottish Tories supporting the legislation.

MSPs agreed the bill “constrains the competence of the Scottish Parliament and breaches international law”.

The Constitution Secretary, Michael Russell, has described the bill as an “unprecedented threat” to the Scottish Parliament’s powers.

Last night SNP MP Drew Hendry was suspended from the Commons during a debate on the Internal Market Bill.

After Scully said he would push ahead with the bill, Hendry could be heard shouting that it was both “outrageous” and a “democratic disgrace” for the Government to be moving ahead without the devolved administrations’ consent.

Hendry took up the parliamentary mace, which the Commons can only operate lawfully in the presence of, and made to exit the House with it. However, he was stopped by the doorkeepers, who took the mace from him.

Hendry was later suspended from the Commons.

Russell congratulated the MP for his protest, saying he was “speaking truth to power”.

Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey MP Hendry had previously voiced objections to the Internal Market Bill, warning that its “still significant problems” includes that it “changes the scope of devolved decision making, it reserves additional powers to Westminster, [and] it empowers the UK Government to spend in devolved areas that have nothing to do with markets, for example prisons, sport, international student exchanges and more”.

“And above all,” he said, “unlike EU law, it has inherently asymmetrical effects on decision making on England and for the devolved territories”.

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