UK News Scottish Government did not walk away from common framework talks, says minister
Timeline of key events since UK was put into lockdown
Unprecedented restrictions were announced on March 23. – March 23: The UK public is told that they will only be allowed to leave their homes for limited reasons, including food shopping, exercise once per day, medical need and travelling for work when absolutely necessary. © Provided by PA Media Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressing the nation from 10 Downing Street (PA Video) All shops selling non-essential goods are told to close, gatherings of more than two people in public are banned, events including weddings – but excluding funerals – are cancelled.
Scottish Constitution Secretary Mike Russell has denied accusations that the Scottish Government walked away from negotiations on post-Brexit common frameworks.
UK small business minister Paul Scully said on Wednesday that the Internal Market Bill was introduced at Westminster as a direct result of the Scottish Government ending the talks, which would have created common standards throughout the UK for goods and services after the end of the transition period.
Boris warns critics of 'many more deaths' as he brings in new lockdown
The Prime Minister said he was 'deeply, spiritually reluctant' to make the changes but they were necessary in order to avoid a dramatic surge in deaths and a new total lockdown.In a televised address to the nation the Prime Minister, flanked by a Union Jack, said he was 'deeply, spiritually reluctant' to make new 'impositions, or infringe anyone's freedom' after unveiling new measures in Parliament today.
Mr Russell and others in the Scottish Government have described the controversial Bill as a “power grab”.
Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme, Mr Scully said: “Part of the reason that we’re in this place in the first place is that we’re dealing with common frameworks to build things to consensus.
“But the Scottish Government pulled out of that some time ago, so we need to get them back to the table to make sure we can build that consensus because this is good for Scottish business, this is good for continuity of Scottish business as we leave the transition phase.”
But appearing before Holyrood’s Finance and Constitution Committee later on Wednesday morning, Mr Russell said Mr Scully’s assertion was “absolutely untrue”.
Dominic Raab admits UK 'could end up in a national lockdown'
Dominic Raab today warned the UK 'could end up in a national lockdown' if Boris Johnson's new coronavirus crackdown fails to get the disease under control. The Foreign Secretary said a second shutdown 'is what we want to avoid' but the nuclear option remains in the Government's 'arsenal' if all else fails. Mr Raab said he hoped 'if everyone plays by the rules' then the nation will be able to go into the Christmas period without a national lockdown being imposed. He also defended the Government's plans to allow the police to ask the Army for help in order to boost Covid-19 enforcement.
He said: “That is categorically untrue. We have been working solidly on the frameworks with the UK Government, and I said to this committee the last time that I appeared in front of it: We wish to complete that process, we wish them to be negotiated and agreed and we will operate as if they’re all in place from January 1 next year, the day after the transition.
“There’s no danger at all of difficulty with the [UK] single market.”
Mr Russell claimed the UK Government would prefer the Bill it has proposed to common frameworks “because they wish to force the devolved administrations – all of them – to accept really bad trade deals and much lower standards”.
He asked Mr Scully to withdraw remarks he said were “made out of ignorance”, adding that he believes the UK Government is attempting to “rewrite history”.
Under questioning from Tory MSP Murdo Fraser, Mr Russell said the Scottish Government had walked away from talks on the early stages of the Bill, not common frameworks.
How Labour starts winning in Scotland is one of Starmer's most tortuous conundrums
Sir Keir Starmer has a clear strategy when it comes to Boris Johnson and the Conservative Party and that came through pitch perfect this week when he gave his first conference speech as the Labour leader. © Getty Sir Keir Starmer He set up himself as the competent, serious political operator against a prime minister who he says is "not up to the job".And as for the Labour Party, the message was simply: Look again, we're under new management.
He said: “We refused to enter into discussions on the internal market, because the internal market was going to lead to where we are now.”
Video: Ministers have held crisis talks with Tory MPs in an effort to ward off a revolt over coronavirus laws (PA Media)
Brexit talks enter another week of high drama .
Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove is in Brussels ahead of a ninth round of trade talks.– Hasn’t the UK already left the EU?