Fri 24 Jul, 2020

This dangerous, anti-environment and undemocratic law must be resisted, which why I’m writing today to the UK Government asking them to withdraw these proposals now Patrick Harvie

The UK Government must abandon plans to introduce an effective veto over the Scottish Parliament, the Scottish Greens have said.

Hidden in its White Paper on the ‘UK internal market’, the UK Government proposes to impose sweeping new laws to reserve the right to veto any devolved decision which threatens their free market fundamentalism, or isn’t in the interest of big business. This could be applied retrospectively.

Although Conservative politicians have previously claimed that various devolved policies are safe, the White Paper proposes that “a uniform approach is key to our ability to remain a competitive economy”, which presents a serious threat to devolved commitments on environmental protections, food standards and public ownership.

Scottish Green co-leader Patrick Harvie has written to Business Secretary Alok Sharma demanding that these plans go back to the drawing board, with a commitment to protect the Scottish Parliament’s democratic authority.

Commenting, Patrick Harvie said: “Close cooperation between governments is essential, but these proposals aren’t merely a power grab, they call into question the very notion of devolution itself.

“There is absolutely no respect for the decisions of Holyrood, Stormont or the Senedd, who are told they can ‘innovate’ as long as it doesn’t impede the growth of businesses the Conservatives want to surrender our services to.

“Putting the market before democracy is very dangerous indeed. It threatens our environmental, food and farming standards. It threatens Scotland’s decisions to ban fracking or prevent new nuclear power stations. It could be applied to our bold public health measures such as minimum unit pricing, and it certainly could allow further private sector involvement in our NHS.

“From our fairer tax system to free bus travel for young people, I’m proud of the role the Scottish Greens have played in Scotland’s devolution journey, and we will not accept attempts to roll back on those gains. This dangerous, anti-environment and undemocratic law must be resisted, which why I’m writing today to the UK Government asking them to withdraw these proposals now.”

In his introduction to the White Paper Alok Sharma claims the new laws will “prevent any part of the UK from blocking products or services."

The document says: “The Government’s view is that direct discrimination should be prohibited; it is also seeking views on how to legislate for indirect discrimination.”

A requirement not to discriminate, it says, “makes it unlawful for a government to regulate in any way that affords less favourable treatment to goods, professionals or service providers originating in or from another territory to that afforded to its own goods professionals or service providers”

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