Scottish Government considering court battle over Westminster 'power grab'

The Scottish Government could launch a court battle to fight controversial Westminster plans for a post-Brexit UK internal market, Constitution Secretary Michael Russell has said.
Michael Russell is not ruling out legal actionMichael Russell is not ruling out legal action
Michael Russell is not ruling out legal action

He has branded the move a "major power grab" by the UK Government and insisted that it undermines the authority of the Scottish Parliament.

The UK Government has insisted that the proposal is necessary in order to ensure the same rules and regulations apply on the sale of goods and services across the UK after the EU internal market ceases to apply at the end of the year.

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Mr Russell told MSPs on Holyrood's Constitution committee that legislation at Westminster to bring about the internal market states that "key decisions will put to the UK Parliament for approval."

He added: "This is a power grab, it's a major power grab."

"It is the UK Parliament, driven by the UK Government, with a majority of 80 of course, that will decide. And Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will have no say."

The Scottish Government insists that many of the areas where regulations will apply, such as agriculture and environmental standards, are the responsibility of the Scottish Parliament under the terms of the devolution agreement.

The Scottish Government has now issued a formal response to the consultation on the UK Government legislation making it clear that it opposes the plans. Mr Russell added that a debate will also be brought to the Scottish Parliament which is likely to reject the plans and withhold legislative consent. The SNP will also oppose the plans in the House of Commons and the Lords.

"And I do not rule out other action up to an including legal," he said.

"Because this is an outrageous power grab and it is a major weakening of devolution and it should not be permitted to take place."

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