In March, the UK Government published their provisional analysis of where we believe frameworks may be needed. This showed that, of the over 100 areas in which powers are coming back from Brussels, we think 24 areas may need legislative common frameworks to make sure we maintain the UK’s internal market—a market that is worth four times as much to Scottish businesses as the rest of the EU put together.
Services account for over half of Scotland’s exports to the United Kingdom, so ensuring there are no new barriers to trade in services between Scotland and the rest of the UK is vital for Scotland’s economy. Does my right hon. Friend share my belief that, if the Scottish Government really wanted to put Scotland’s interests first, they would be working more constructively with the UK Government to preserve, and indeed enhance, the ability of the Scottish services sector to trade with the rest of the United Kingdom?
I absolutely agree with my hon. Friend. The Scottish Government could start by retracting their bizarre recent argument that the UK’s internal market does not exist. We all know they might want the UK’s internal market not to exist, as we realise they have reached such a stage of denial. The truth is that the UK’s internal market is vital to the prosperity and jobs of people across Scotland.
Will the new public relations post in the Cabinet Office covering Scotland and Northern Ireland be one of those essential frameworks that are being built? Is the Cabinet Office riding to save the Secretary of State’s bacon?
As the hon. Lady is aware, the Cabinet Office performs a vital role in operating an overview of the devolved settlements in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and in bringing together those constitutional arrangements.
The hon. Member for Gordon (Colin Clark) is no longer committed to coming in. Never mind. We will get him in another time.
Does my right hon. Friend agree that common frameworks in areas such as fisheries, agriculture, food labelling and animal welfare are crucial to ensuring that trade within the UK is not disrupted when the UK leaves the EU?
I absolutely agree. One of the first frameworks we want to agree is in the area of fisheries, because this Government want to take Scotland and the UK out of the common fisheries policy, exactly the opposite of the SNP.