Devolution under ‘systemic attack’ from UK Government claims Scottish constitution secretary
Devolution is under a “systemic attack” from the UK Government, according to the new Scottish constitution secretary Angus.
Angus Robertson claimed that UK Ministers were using the post-Brexit Internal Market Act as an “ill-disguised attempt” to “take back control” of devolved powers.
He was giving evidence to Holyrood’s Constitution Committee for the first time since his appointment to the role.
“Devolution is under systematic attack from a UK Government that is increasingly hostile to devolution in both word and deed,” he said.
The Welsh Government has also previously described the Internal Market Act as a “power grab” of devolved powers.
The Internal Market Act, which takes away swathes of powers that had previously been devolved, was passed in December, despite the Senedd refusing to give consent to the bill. They have since then started legal action against it.
Angus Robertson told the committee that he remained committed to working with the UK Government and other devolved governments in an equal partnership on common frameworks.
“But these arrangements can only work if all parties are prepared to respect devolution and proceed on the basis of equality and mutual respect,” he said.
“Sadly there’s little evidence that Westminster wants an equal partnership, and has resorted instead to unilateral control.
“We have a profound challenge about how we deal with the UK Government because, frankly, not only is the relationship between the UK Government and the devolved administrations suboptimal, but they are actually pursuing policies aimed at undermining and denuding the devolved settlement.”
A UK Government spokeswoman said that people want to see the UK Government and devolved administrations working together to protect lives and livelihoods.
“The United Kingdom is the most successful political and economic union the world has ever seen, and this pandemic and our collective response, from the furlough scheme to vaccine procurement and the backing of our military personnel, has shown that we are at our strongest when we work together towards a common goal,” they said.
“The UK Government is determined to level up right across the country, including through direct investment in Scottish communities.”