Nicola Sturgeon: UK single market plan will 'cripple' Scottish Parliament

Nicola Sturgeon has branded controversial post-Brexit plans which will create a UK "single market" an "abomination" which will "cripple devolution."

Nicola Sturgeon says plans are an "abomination"
Nicola Sturgeon says plans are an "abomination"

The SNP leader warned that the UK's Government's Internal market Bill published today will drive Scots to vote independence as she ramped up the pressure for a second referendum.

But the fears have been dismissed by Boris Johnson who insists that the changes will ensure a seamless trade in goods when the EU single market ceases to apply in the UK next year, as well as providing a tranche of new powers for Holyrood.

Ms Sturgeon issued a strongly worded attack on the legislation which was published at Westminster today.

“The Tories’ proposed Bill for a so-called UK internal Market is an abomination. It is a naked power grab which would cripple devolution," the First Minister said.

“The plan for mutual recognition of standards in reality means a race to the bottom when it comes to things like food standards and environmental protections.

“It would prevent the Scottish Parliament from effectively legislating in a whole range of areas, including laws covering the food people put on their tables, which is currently produced to high EU animal welfare and food safety standards.

“That could be undermined by Scotland having to accept lower standards set by a UK Government in pursuit of a US or other trade deals – and could see us forced to accept chlorinated chicken."

The Bill aims to guarantee companies can trade unhindered in every part of the UK and replaces the provisions of the EU single market when the Brexit transition period ceases at the end of the year.

Brexit will see Holyrood and the other devolved nations handed new controls over areas such as animal welfare, food regulations and the environment. But there are fears that this may lead to new barriers to trade between different parts of the UK.

But Ms Sturgeon has pledged to "fiercely resist" the plans" and called on all parties in Scotland to oppose the measures contained in the Bill.

"All parties – including the Scottish Tories – have a duty now to protect and defend the powers democratically endorsed by the people of Scotland.

“Far from returning powers to Scotland, as promised by the likes of Michael Gove, it is now crystal clear that Brexit means taking back control from Holyrood and taking control away from the Scottish people. That is a betrayal not just of devolution, but of the promises made in the Brexit referendum, including those in Scotland who voted Leave.

“It is also now clearer than ever that the only way to defend the powers of the Scottish Parliament is with independence. And when an independence referendum comes – as it will – it will no longer be a choice between independence and the status quo, but between independence and a Tory regime which is intent on crippling Holyrood.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledged to press on with the Bill in the Commons today.

"I believe that his attacks on it are totally illogical, it actually represents a very substantial transfer of powers, of sovereignty to Scotland, to Wales... it is a massive devolutionary act," Mr Johnson said "It also ensures the integrity of the UK internal market and he speaks of a transfer of powers to the UK Government, on the contrary what he would do is transfer powers not just over competition and state aids back to Brussels, but of course over fisheries too and that is the policy of the SNP and it would be a disaster for our country."

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