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UK Internal Market

Volume 679: debated on Wednesday 9 September 2020

What discussions he has had with (a) Cabinet colleagues and (b) the Scottish Government on legislative proposals for a UK internal market. (905551)

What discussions he has had with (a) Cabinet colleagues and (b) the Scottish Government on legislative proposals for a UK internal market. (905557)

I have frequent discussions with Cabinet colleagues on a range of matters relating to the UK internal market. The UK internal market is vitally important for our economy. As I have said a number of times over the past five minutes, sales produced in Scotland to the rest of the UK are £51.2 billion per year and over 60% of our exports.

By contrast to the Secretary of State’s power surge, the European single market’s principles, for example, are based on equality, co-operation and consent, with agreed standards for all member states. If he claims that the policy on the UK internal market is not a power grab, will he guarantee a mechanism for negotiation, agreement and consent between the four nations of the UK?

The hon. Lady points towards frameworks, which is exactly what we are doing. For standards, frameworks will be by consent across the United Kingdom. There is the opportunity for parties to opt out. As a safety net for business, we are introducing mutual recognition, which underpins the European single market, and we are introducing non-discrimination.

The gravity analysis published in the internal market Command Paper suggests that a border effected between Scotland and the rest of the UK would have an impact of about 1.1% of Scottish GDP. Brexit will have an impact seven times greater—a loss of GDP growth in Scotland of about 8%. When the Secretary of State has discussions with the Scottish Government, will he commit to bring forward another Command Paper insisting that Scotland remains part of the European Union single market?

We are leaving the EU—I do not know if that point has been wasted on the hon. Gentleman. When we were on the Treasury Committee, we saw many projections about what would happen if the UK voted for Brexit, and all those projections had one thing in common: they were wrong. I do not recognise his figures. I believe that with good trade deals and this UK legislation, we will strengthen the Scottish economy.

Like many people in Newport West, I was astonished by the comments of the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland at the Dispatch Box yesterday in relation to the Government’s willingness to break international law. Legislation is important and so is the Government’s ability to obey it, so will the Secretary of State commit to a UK-wide framework that protects workers’ rights and environmental standards within the internal market, and will he pledge to stick to it?

There are over 42 frameworks—I have not studied them all in detail, but I am sure that those subjects will be covered. When we have frameworks, it is by consensus. It is up to each member state of the United Kingdom—the four nations—to adhere to those. They do have an opt-out and, as I say, the UKIM legislation underpins that and protects producers, suppliers, manufacturers and consumers alike.