An inquiry into the UK’s internal market has been launched by the Scottish Parliament’s Constitution, Europe, External Affairs & Culture Committee.
The MSPs want to lead a public discussion about how the new constitutional arrangements arising from the UK internal market will impact on how devolution works. A key question is the extent to which policy divergence both within the different parts of the UK and between the different parts of the UK and the EU is possible within the UK internal market.
It is also an opportunity to consider the risks identified by the Finance & Constitution Committee legacy expert panel that the new arrangements could lead to a shift in the balance of power away from the Scottish Parliament in relation to its core scrutiny function.
In a call for views the Committee especially invites comments on the following areas:
- How devolution is being impacted by the new constitutional arrangements arising from the UK internal market.
- Scrutiny, transparency and accountability challenges – including how the Parliament can best address these challenges.
- The challenges and opportunities in domestic policy divergence including the risks/rewards of policy divergence between the four parts of the UK and the EU.
- The relationship between the Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland and the operation of the UK internal market – including whether this poses challenges for Scotland.
- What the establishment of the UK internal market and the increasingly interconnected nature of devolution means for intergovernmental and interparliamentary relations – including what opportunities and challenges they present.
- The impact of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement and other bilateral trade agreements on the operation of the UK internal market and devolution.
Committee convener Clare Adamson MSP commented:
"The UK internal market has a significant impact on the UK’s constitutional arrangements. We want to examine the recent changes and, now that they have had some time to bed in, understand how they work for Scotland.
"Of course, arrangements need to work for businesses, consumers and other stakeholders. To do so, there needs to be transparency and effective democratic oversight.
"Our committee wants to lead a debate on these challenging issues in the Parliament and wider Scottish society, and we fully expect a vigorous discussion in the months ahead."
The deadline for submissions is 29 October 2021.