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by Kirsteen Paterson
14 November 2022
UK constitutional arrangements must be 'reset', MSPs say

Committee convener Clare Adamson

UK constitutional arrangements must be 'reset', MSPs say

A UK Government bill which sets out the basis to make changes to the Northern Ireland Protocol proves the need for a constitutional "reset", MSPs claim.

Relations between the UK Government and devolved governments "are not working as well as they should and this needs to be addressed", according to a Scottish Parliament committee.

The Constitution, Europe, External Affairs and Culture Committee says it is "clear" that constitutional arrangements between Westminster and the devolved governments "must be reset".

The UK Government introduced the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill in June. It provides the basis to amend the operation of the border protocol brought in as a result of Brexit.

The Scottish Government lodged a legislative consent memorandum in August recommending that the Scottish Parliament does not give its consent to the bill. It further states that the administration does not intend to lodge a legislative consent motion in connection to the bill.

A motion previously agreed by the parliament states that it is "fundamentally unacceptable for the UK Government to unilaterally disapply key parts of the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement", and that doing so risks the integrity of the Good Friday Agreement and a "disastrous trade dispute" with the EU.

The committee will now write to Michael Gove whose department is responsible for intergovernmental relations, to raise the issue. Convener Clare Adamson said the scope of the delegated powers within the bill, and of those in other Brexit-related bills, present "a significant risk to the balance of power between the executive and the legislature, both at a UK and devolved level".

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