Defending the Powers of the Scottish Parliament Debate

Devolution is approaching its 20th anniversary. Yet, instead of preparing to celebrate all of its achievements, we are instead forced to defend the devolution settlement and the powers of our Scottish Parliament from a UK Government power grab. Devolution is extremely popular in Scotland, with the overwhelming majority of Scots wanting decisions impacting Scotland to be made here. For the UK Government to try to take powers away from Scotland is disrespectful of the devolution settlement, the Scottish Parliament and the people of Scotland. The SNP is committed to defending these powers so that Scotland continues to have a say over its future.

Portfolio Question: Update on negotiations with the EU

Yesterday I asked the Scottish Government to  provide an update on its negotiations with the EU, following the First Minister’s recent meeting with Michel Barnier. It is clear that a ‘No Deal’ Brexit outcome would be catastrophic for Scotland. While the UK Government continues to be helplessly confused, the Scottish Government has been clear all along – Scotland and the UK must remain in the EU Single Market and Customs Union to safeguard the economy, jobs and people’s livelihoods.

David Mundell MP admits UK Government willing to act in contradiction of Scottish Parliament

Today, David Mundell MP Secretary Of State for Scotland, admitted that the UK Government would take the explicit refusal of consent by the Scottish Parliament as a ‘consent decision’, allowing the Tory Government to legislate in devolved areas of policy.
He described himself as ‘happy’ with the amended clause 11, that completely undermines Scottish devolution and would restrict the Scottish Parliament‘s powers for up to 7 years.
While the Secretary of State for Scotland appears unwilling or unable to act in Scotland’s interests, the Scottish National Party has been clear- we must not allow the Tories to sell out devolution and undermine our Parliament.

 

Questioning Mike Russell on the Finance and Constitution Committee

The evidence from Mike Russell MSP, Minister for UK Negotiations on Scotland’s Place in Europe, during the Finance and Constitution Committee yesterday was clear, the consent of the Scottish Parliament throughout the negotiations over the EU Withdrawal Bill remains crucial. Consent remains a fundamental principle of devolution and we can’t let the UK Government undermine the powers of the Scottish Parliament.

 

It’s time for the UK Government to give Scotland an equal place at the trade negotiating table

A witness panel giving evidence to the Finance and Constitution Committee this week contended that any future trade deals the UK Government seeks to pursue must only be secured with the consent of the Scottish Government.

The Committee took evidence from witnesses on the possible impact of the UK’s Trade Bill on Scotland. The Bill would grant the UK Government sweeping powers to negotiate future trade deals on Scotland’s behalf- including in areas that are devolved to the Scottish Parliament such as agriculture.  But at present the Bill contains no provisions for allowing parliamentary scrutiny by Holyrood.

According to Professor Aileen McHarg of Strathclyde University the Bill in its current draft contains ‘no requirement for UK Ministers to gain devolved consent before exercising regulation making powers in devolved areas.’

Asked by SNP MSP Ash Denham if the UK Government should be able to proceed with trade deals that the Scottish Government didn’t agree to, Graham Kemp, from St Andrews TTIP Action Group, answered,

“The answer is no. They shouldn’t be able to proceed. We have been told we are an equal partner to the union and should be treated as such.”

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Ash Denham MSP encourages shoppers to keep it local

SNP MSP Ash Denham is encouraging consumers in Edinburgh Eastern to shop locally and support the 18,710 small businesses in the local economy.

The Scottish Government is committed to supporting businesses in Scotland, including retailers, providing the most competitive package of non-domestic rates reliefs anywhere in the UK in the 2018/19 budget. This includes the Small Business Bonus scheme that has already saved smaller firms £1.5bn, lifting 100,000 business premises out of rates altogether.

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