Johnson’s Internal Market Bill ‘undermining the UK’ by overruling devolved parliaments, Lords say

Boris Johnson at the House of Commons.

The UK Government’s Internal Market Bill risks undermining the union by overruling the governments of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, according to a House of Lords committee.

According to their report on the Bill it adops an “unnecessarily heavy-handed approach” by not respecting the roles and responsibilities of devolved institutions.

“At a time when the Government is seeking to strengthen the Union, the handling of the United Kingdom internal market risks undermining those efforts and reducing trust,” the Select Committee on the Constitution said.

“It provides the UK Government with powers that could allow it to alter the competences of the devolved administrations in significant ways.

“As such, it risks de-stabilising this integral part of the UK’s constitutional arrangements—at a time when it has never been more important for central and devolved governments to work together effectively

“There is no reason why principles for the successful operation of the UK domestic market cannot be arrived at consensually as there is already broad political agreement on the need to avoid erecting new barriers to trade.”

 

‘Oppose’

The spending powers set out in the Internal Market Bill override the existing devolution settlement and will enable the UK government to spend money in Wales without asking the Wesh Government first.

It will also force Wales and Scotland to accept whatever new standards on food, environment and animal welfare are agreed by the UK Government in post-Brexit trade deals.

Last month Wales’ First Minister Mark Drakeford slammed the Bill as an “enormous power grab” which the Welsh Government will oppose “every step of the way”.

“This Bill will do more to hasten the break-up of the Union than anything else since devolution began. We’ll oppose it every step of the way,” he added.

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