Wednesday, 31 October 2018 12:21


The Scottish Parliament’s Constitution Committee has today published its report on the UK Trade Bill – in which it recommends that Holyrood withhold its consent to the legislation unless clauses that constrain the powers of Scottish Ministers in devolved areas are removed.

As with the EU Withdrawal Bill, MSPs from across the political divide stand united against a Westminster power grab on devolution – with only the Tories dissenting. The Conservative party stands completely isolated in its wish to see the powers of the Scottish, which were guaranteed through the devolution settlement, eroded through the Brexit process.
The Committee's report recognises that while international trade remains reserved to Westminster, the Bill could have a serious impact on devolved powers and services delivered by Holyrood. There remain serious fears that a UK trade deal with the United States could open up Scotland’s NHS to privatisation, and with substandard food imports – such as hormone-treated beef – flooding the market and damaging the interests of Scottish producers.
Reports have surfaced in recent days of think tanks with close ties to Brexiteer trade secretary Liam Fox and Donald Trump urging the UK government to open up the NHS to privatisation – putting profits ahead of public health.
Commenting on today’s report, committee member Willie Coffey MSP said:
“The Tories think they can do whatever they want to Scotland and get away with it, but politicians at Holyrood are united in stopping Brexiteers negotiating away our interests in any trade deals.
“Now the Tories look increasingly isolated at Holyrood – they stand alone in their wish to see our NHS opened up to private interests as Theresa May scrabbles to cut a quick trade deal with Donald Trump.
“And it seems the Tories would gladly undermine our food producers and Scotland’s global reputation by flooding the market with foreign imports of hormone-injected beef, chlorinated chicken and GM crops.
“If that is the Tory vision for post-Brexit Britain then they should prepare for the fight of their political lives.
“Today’s report makes that crystal clear – the UK government must back down on their power grab, call off their assault on devolution and respect Scotland’s parliament.”
Trade secretary Liam Fox has longstanding links with several of the think tanks looking to “hash out an ideal” US-UK trade deal

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