Defying Holyrood vote on internal market ‘will boost independence support’

Support for independence will increase if Westminster disregards a Holyrood vote on the Internal Market Bill, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

The Scottish Government has recommended the Scottish Parliament rejects the legislative consent motion (LCM) it will vote on in the coming weeks.

An LCM is an order that gives permission for the UK Government to legislate in a devolved area, but it is not legally binding, as evidenced in the passage of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement earlier this year, when the three devolved parliaments rejected the proposal.

Speaking during First Minister’s Questions, the First Minister said: “If the Scottish Parliament refuses to give its consent to this Bill, any UK government worth its salt would do the right thing and respect the views of this Parliament.

“If it doesn’t do that, if it insists in legislating over the heads of this Parliament in devolved areas, then all the UK Government succeeds in doing is demonstrating that is has no respect for this Parliament and if this Parliament is to have the power to make its own decisions then it needs to stop being a devolved parliament and become an independent parliament so the UK Government can’t do that.”

In recent months, Scottish ministers have warned of a “power grab” by the UK Government through the Bill, with the First Minister claiming it is a “full-frontal assault on devolution”, while Whitehall has said that more than 100 powers would be handed to the Scottish Government from Brussels as a result.

Concerns over standards have also been raised, with trade experts saying that a product deemed to be acceptable in one part of the UK would also have to be accepted in the other areas.

The First Minister added: “Given that appeals to this UK Government to do the right thing for the right reasons often fall on deaf ears, perhaps I should appeal to them to do the right thing for their own self-interested reasons, because the way they’re acting right now, as we can see plenty evidence of, is each and every single day building the case and the support for Scottish independence.

“I’m happy with that but I suspect they aren’t.”