Angus Robertson: Scottish Government is ‘fundamentally opposed’ to EU law Bill

The Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill to scrap European laws was introduced by the UK Government on Thursday.

Angus Robertson
Angus Robertson

The Scottish Government has a “fundamental opposition” to a UK-wide Bill that would spell the end of EU laws in the UK.

The Retained EU Law (Reform and Revocation) Bill was introduced by the UK Government on Thursday, and would pass into law a sunset clause for the majority of European law that would take effect from the end of 2023.

But a letter from Scotland’s Constitution Secretary to UK Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg said the Bill would result in a “race to the bottom” by scrapping EU regulations.

“I am writing to express again my deep concern and the fundamental opposition of Scottish Ministers to the Retained EU Law (Reform and Revocation) Bill, introduced today by the UK Government,” wrote Angus Robertson.

“This Bill puts at risk the high standards people in Scotland have rightly come to expect from EU membership. You appear to want to row back 47 years of protections in a rush to impose a deregulated, race to the bottom, society and economy.

“This is clearly at odds with the wishes of the vast majority of the people of Scotland who will be dismayed at the direction the UK Government is taking.”

Mr Robertson said he had expressed concerns earlier this month about the Bill, claiming that “Brexit ideology, rather than the best interests of our citizens and businesses” would be put first.

“Now that we have received the full print of the bill (disappointingly with less than a day’s notice), it is alarming to see this concern realised,” he added.

The Constitution Secretary also claimed the process around the Bill undermined devolution, because he has not received a request for legislative consent.

There is currently no legal requirement for Westminster to ask for consent from devolved parliaments when legislating in devolved areas, but a convention means ministers are expected to ask for legislative consent.

“I am greatly concerned by the attitude of the UK Government in respect of devolved power, including the operation of the Sewel Convention with regards to this legislation – despite your assurances when we met in May that the Convention would be respected,” he wrote.

“At the time of writing, I have received no legislative consent request from you in relation to the Bill.

“As a matter of urgency, could you please clarify that you will be seeking this from the Scottish Parliament.”

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