No, the Internal Market Bill is not a power grab.

By Dillon Kennedy

The government's Internal Market Bill has been deemed by Scottish National Party MP’s and opposition MP’s as a way of trying to bypass the Scottish Government on powers in areas that are devolved to Edinburgh. The United Kingdom Internal Market Bill which was debated last night at second reading in the House of Commons gives UK Government ministers the power to fund infrastructure and development anywhere in this country including Scotland. This has sparked an outcry by the SNP saying that this is an attack on devolution because transport and regional development are devolved powers held by Holyrood. The bill passed the second reading in the house by 340 votes for in favour compared to 263 against, this means it will now pass to the upper chamber the House of Lords.

The bill in my own opinion is a Win-Win for Scottish businesses, jobs as well as boosting Scotland's economy and rebuild it from the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic. This bill is key to protecting 545,000 jobs in Scotland that rely on trade in the UK as well as ensuring that the movement of goods across the country remains unrestricted. Since last night, we have seen the SNP been on one panel show after another with the First Minister, stating that the UK Government is staging a power grab. Not one single power will be lost that the Scottish Parliament currently has, in actual fact when we leave the EU at the end of 2020, there will be new powers and new responsibilities which will flow into the Scottish Parliament.

There is no ambition for the UK government to break up the union but the First Minister of Scotland and the SNP seem obsessed with breaking Scotland away from the UK. The SNP have stated that if Scotland was to become independent from the rest of the UK, their goal is to rejoin the European Union. Going down this path would allow the EU to remove powers from Scotland. If Scotland became independent and wanted to rejoin the European Union, then the stance from the EU itself is that an independent Scotland doesn't automatically step into the UK's shoes as a Member. It is mentioned in a document in 2012 by the then President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso that “If part of the territory of a Member State would cease to be part of that state because it were to become a new independent state, the Treaties would no longer apply to that territory." In other words, a new independent state would, by the fact of its independence, become a third country with respect to the EU and the Treaties would no longer apply on its territory.” Now that the UK is leaving the EU, if the SNP won that referendum they would have to apply to re-join the EU and the consent of all other 27 member countries would be required for Scotland to rejoin.

They have also claimed that the bill would break or even cripple devolution, but I can say that this SNP Government doesn't care about devolution but wants to overthrow it. If Scotland becomes independent it would indeed break devolution bringing to an end the system of two governments, which was backed overwhelmingly on the referendums of 2014 on Scottish independence and a referendum on devolution in 1997. Let's crunch the numbers for both referendums, in 2014 the Better Together campaign won the majority with over 2,001,926 votes. In the 1997 referendum of devolution which would see the creation of the Scottish Parliament with devolved powers was won by the pro-devolution side won by 1,775,045 votes. We the people do not want to focus on division but actually dealing with the key issues outlined in my last column and getting our economy back on track after the pandemic of 2020. We must work with Westminster and the UK government to get this bill through and made into law.