Nicola Sturgeon shut down by Michael Gove as he pinpoints flaws in SNP leader’s attack
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The First Minister desperately pushed her case for Scottish independence by accusing UK ministers of a power grab from Holyrood with its controversial legislation to change the Withdrawal Agreement. But publishing the legalisation on Wednesday, Minister for the Cabinet Office Mr Gove said the move would see devolved administrations actually enjoy a “power surge”.
He said: “The devolved administrations of the UK will enjoy a power surge when the transition period ends in December.
“Holyrood, Stormont and Cardiff Bay will soon have more powers than ever before and there will be no change to the powers the devolved administrations already have.”
It comes after Ms Sturgeon tweeted: “The Internal Market Bill that the U.K. government will publish today is a full frontal assault on devolution.
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“And to the usual ‘but the SNP would say that’ voices, read the Welsh Government view below, rightly referring to the Bill ‘stealing’ powers from the devolved govts…
“At forthcoming @ScotParl elections, @theSNP will make case for independence. And more and more this is not about independence v the status quo of devolution. It’s about independence as the only way to protect the Scottish Parliament from being undermined and its powers eroded.
“And added to all of the above, this is a Bill that, by the government’s own admission, breaks international law.
“This UK gov is the most reckless (& to make it worse, incompetently so) and unprincipled in my lifetime. Scotland can do better and we will have that choice.”
While SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford branded the UK Internal Market Bill proposals “nothing short of an attack on Scotland’s Parliament and an affront to the people of Scotland” during this afternoon’s Prime Minister’s Questions.
And during Scottish Questions in the Commons, SNP MP Pete Wishart suggested the Government’s UK Internal Market Bill could be used to override the authority of the Scottish Parliament.
But the accusations were rejected by Scottish Secretary Alister Jack who insisted that more powers would be delivered to Edinburgh which would help strengthen the Scottish economy.
Mr Wishart said: “Can I just say ever so gently and candidly to (Mr Jack), he’s not presiding over the strengthening of the union, he’s presiding over its demise. Support for independence is now at an all-time high at 55 percent.
“And can I just say to him, after today it’s just going to get a lot, lot worse for him.
“If there was ever any doubt that this Government were determined to override the authority of the Scottish Parliament it is Clause 46 of this disgraceful Bill today.
“Why doesn’t he man up? Why doesn’t he confess, be honest with the Scottish people and tell them that this is an unadulterated power grab?”
Mr Jack responded: “For a very simple reason, that it isn’t and still the SNP can’t tell us one power that is being grabbed, not one single power.
“Quite the contrary, more powers are being delivered to the Scottish Parliament, strengthening devolution, something that the SNP don’t like and they don’t like this UK legislation because it strengthens the United Kingdom economy and that doesn’t fit into their plans either.”
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