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16 September 2020
Michael Gove to be questioned on UK Internal Market Bill

Jonathan Brady/PA Wire/PA Images

Michael Gove to be questioned on UK Internal Market Bill

Michael Gove will appear before a Holyrood committee to give evidence on the UK Government’s UK Internal Market Bill, after Business Secretary Alok Sharma declined a committee invite to do so.

The Cabinet Office Minister contacted the Scottish Parliament Finance and Constitution Committee after it emerged Sharma had said the “tight legislative deadline” prevented him from making time.

Committee convener Bruce Crawford welcomed the development.

The committee is currently scrutinising the bill, which the UK Government introduced to the House of Commons last week.

The bill will govern how goods and standards will be regulated after the UK leaves the EU Common Market.

Controversy surrounds the bill because of sections that have the potential to overwrite agreements previously committed to by the UK Government in relation to Northern Ireland and trade.

The UK Government has admitted it “breaks international law”.

Devolved governments have also criticised the bill, with both Welsh and Scottish government ministers describing is as a “power grab”.

When declining his invitation to appear to give evidence, Sharma’s office told the committee: “Given the tight legislative timeline for the bill, it is with regret that the Secretary of State will be unable to attend this committee session.

“We look forward to the findings of the committee’s engagement on the UK Internal Market Bill.”

Committee convener Bruce Crawford said in response that he was “genuinely dismayed” that the committee report would not have the benefit of direct evidence from the UK Government.

But Crawford later welcomed news that Gove’s office had subsequently been in contact with the committee offering to appear to oral evidence.

It has not yet been confirmed when Gove will appear.

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