Here’s how the Tories are attacking devolution

After dragging Scotland out of the EU against our will, Boris Johnson, enthusiastically aided by the Scottish Tories, is now imposing a creeping Westminster power grab.

A new Scottish Government paper reveals the “steady and systematic undermining of devolution” by the Tories, through the Internal Market Act – passed by Westminster against Scotland’s will.

This affects every area of our daily lives:

  • threatening our NHS
  • risking food standards
  • undermining environmental protections
  • ignoring our democratically elected Scottish Parliament, and much more.

Here’s what it all means.

Westminster now has the power to override devolved policy

The Westminster Parliament has now passed the Internal Market Act – which uses Brexit as an excuse to substantially weaken the Scottish Parliament’s powers.

Under the Act, UK ministers have the power to undermine and override these powers – unilaterally and without consent.

In other words, in key devolved policy areas the UK government can effectively intervene, whenever it likes, regardless of the democratic votes of the Scottish Parliament or the views of the people of Scotland.

Scottish Parliament votes have been repeatedly ignored

One of the fundamental principles of devolution is that the powers of the Scottish Parliament cannot be changed without its explicit consent.

Scotland’s voice has been completely ignored. The Scottish Parliament voted against this power grab by a huge majority – but Westminster ploughed on regardless.

Scotland’s NHS is under increased threat from Westminster

Under the Internal Market Act, UK ministers can unilaterally subject Scotland’s NHS to so-called “market access” principles.

While the SNP have been pushing for an NHS Protection Bill, the UK government repeatedly refused to include any legally binding guarantees to protect the NHS from the impact of future trade deals.

It’s also an attack on our food and environmental standards

The Internal Market Act means that if chlorinated chicken and hormone-injected beef are accepted for sale in England as part of a UK-US post-Brexit trade deal, then they would have to be accepted in Scotland too – no matter how the Scottish Parliament votes or what the Scottish people think.

Similarly, any future legislation in Scotland to ban single use plastics, pass more ambitious environmental policy, or put in place measures to tackle health issues such as obesity, could all be rendered ineffective by the Act.

It imposes a new unelected UK body to pass judgment on Scottish Parliament’s decisions

While Brexiteers have often talked about “getting rid of unelected bureaucrats”, the Vote Leave clique at the heart of the UK government has now established a new unelected and unaccountable body.

The new Office of the Internal Market will have the power to pass judgment on devolved laws. This could mean businesses with deep pockets challenging the democratic decisions of the Scottish Parliament.

Organisations from across Scotland strongly oppose this power grab

Organisations across Scotland – in business, industry, farming, teaching, and the environment – have made clear that the Internal Market Bill is unacceptable.

NFU Scotland said the proposals “pose a significant threat to devolution”, and Scottish Environment Link said the plans “force Scotland to follow the lowest common denominator”.

Even the UK government’s most senior law officer for Scotland has resigned in protest.

“Take back control” meant taking back control from Scotland too

While Brexiteers were parroting the “take back control” line, it’s now clear they also meant Westminster taking back control from Scotland.

Instead of a “big bang” moment like an outright abolition of the Scottish Parliament, Westminster has instead built a mechanism that consistently – but quietly – undermines devolution, hoping that nobody would notice.

But the threat is very real. In this election, the choice is between saving the Scottish Parliament that people voted for in 1997, or allowing Westminster to continue stripping it of its powers.

The only way to protect our Scottish Parliament is with independence

The Tories and Boris Johnson, who himself called devolution “a disaster”, simply cannot be trusted with devolution.

That’s why it’s so important to put Scotland’s future firmly into Scotland’s hands.

Only with independence can we properly protect our Scottish Parliament, have a full range of economic powers to shape the country we want, and always get the governments we vote for.

Make it #BothVotesSNP for #indyref2

This election is our opportunity to stop Boris Johnson from deciding Scotland’s future.

To secure a post-pandemic independence referendum and put Scotland’s future into Scotland’s hands, let’s make it Both Votes SNP on May 6.

The smaller the gap between the SNP constituency vote and list vote, the more likely we are to win a decisive pro-independence majority and secure Scotland’s right to choose.

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