UK ministers ‘imposing direct Westminster rule by stealth’ – report
The Scottish Government has published a paper claiming UK ministers’ actions post-Brexit have undermined devolution.
Angus Robertson said the 16-page document shows the UK Government is “imposing direct Westminster rule by stealth”.
The paper sets out the main points of constitutional disagreement between Holyrood and Westminster which have emerged since the referendum to leave the EU.
It claims there have been nine occasions where Westminster has proceeded with legislation which was refused consent by Holyrood.
The Internal Market Act (IMA) is the “most significant” of these laws, the paper says, arguing it effectively changes the powers of the Scottish Parliament.
The paper says this is “the most wide-ranging constraint imposed on devolved competence since 1999 and undermines the Scottish Parliament’s ability to make laws for Scotland in devolved areas”.
Designed to regulate trade within the UK, the IMA recently became a point of fierce controversy around the planned deposit return scheme (DRS).
UK ministers decided including glass in the Scottish DRS would create “permanent divergence” in the market, leading to the Scottish Government pushing its own scheme back to at least October 2025.
Scottish Secretary Alister Jack has denied the IMA erodes powers from the devolved assemblies, describing it as a “protector of devolution” which maintains the UK’s single market.
Mr Robertson said: “The Scottish Parliament was set up because people in Scotland voted for it, but the Westminster Government is rolling back on that democratic process.
“Under the cover of Brexit, they are imposing direct Westminster rule by stealth and curtailing the ability of the Parliament to take decisions for the benefit of people in Scotland.
“What we have seen so far is the thin edge of the wedge. UK Government ministers have given themselves the power to subject healthcare and water services in Scotland to UK-wide so called ‘market access’ principles.
“The evidence the Scottish Government is presenting today sets out the range of underhand mechanisms UK Government ministers are using to undermine the democratically elected Scottish Parliament and exert tightening Westminster control on Scottish life.”
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