Brexit: Scottish Government issue fierce criticism of 'extraordinary' UK Government plans to undermine Withdrawal Agreement

Reports in the FT about forthcoming legislation has lead to fury from the Scottish Government
UK Government plans for new legislation have been described as 'extraordinary' by the Scottish GovernmentUK Government plans for new legislation have been described as 'extraordinary' by the Scottish Government
UK Government plans for new legislation have been described as 'extraordinary' by the Scottish Government

The Scottish Government has said reports the UK Government is set to introduce legislation which could override the Withdrawal Agreement signed in the early part of 2020 are “extraordinary”.

Constitution minister Michael Russell blasted the revelation the UK Government could be set to implement legislation through the internal market bill which the FT report would “eliminate the legal force of parts of the withdrawal agreement” in areas such as Northern Ireland customs and state aid.

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The legislation, already viewed as an imposition and challenge to the powers of the Scottish Parliament by the Scottish Government and often labelled a ‘power grab’ by the SNP, could “clearly and consciously” undermine the Withdrawal Agreement which was signed to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland, a source told the FT.

Boris Johnson is also expected to tell the country that ‘no deal’ will be inevitable if no agreement with the EU is reached by the date of the next European Council on October 15, but he will describe it as a “good outcome”.

Mr Russell repeated his claim that the move from the UK Government to bring in the internal market bill is the “biggest assault on devolution” since the Scottish Parliament began.

In a highly critical statement, he said: “The UK Government is now hurtling towards a disastrous Brexit outcome in the midst of a deep recession and global pandemic.

"With talks with the EU due to resume tomorrow the UK has put itself in the position of being able to leave the transition period with one of two terrible outcomes - either a low deal or no deal.

"Either will, without a shadow of a doubt, hit Scottish jobs and the Scottish economy very hard.”

He added that the Scottish Government will oppose the bill “at every turn” and warned it would “consolidate opposition” against the UK Government’s plans and “alienate” the EU.

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He said: “With the likely publication of the Internal Market bill this week, designed to allow bad trade deals to be imposed no matter the view of the Scottish people, we will see confirmed the biggest assault on devolution since the Scottish Parliament was established.

"We will, as we have made clear, oppose it at every turn. In addition, reports that the UK Government is now also planning to use this legislation to renege on parts of the Withdrawal Agreement which they willingly entered into just 9 months ago, are extraordinary and will not only consolidate opposition across these islands but will also alienate the European Union, further increasing the likelihood of the current talks collapsing.”

“Scotland’s interests are being damaged as the whole of UK governance is mired in chaos and confusion and as we have seen in the Tony Abbot debacle, is the laughing stock of the world.

"Fortunately Scotland has a better option. The Scottish Government remains of the firm belief that the people of Scotland have the right to choose their own future and is determined to make that happen.

"That is why, before the end of this parliament, we will set out the terms of a future independence referendum clearly and unambiguously to the people of Scotland, in a draft referendum bill.”

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