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Prospect of legal action

Russell ready for legal battle over internal market plan

Mike Russell at rally

Michael Russell: ‘we would not implement the legislation’ (pic: Terry Murden)

The Scottish government has warned it will defy the UK’s plan to set food and environmental standards.

It follows new claims at the weekend that Westminster is mounting a new “power grab” on the devolved administrations.

Michael Russell, Scotland’s cabinet secretary for constitutional affairs, has now said the SNP would challenge the UK government in the courts if it introduces legislation giving London unilateral control to police the UK’s “internal market” post-Brexit.

It would allow London to force Wales and Scotland to accept whatever new standards are agreed in future trade agreements on environment, animal welfare and food.

Mr Russell said that the Holyrood administration would have no intention to implement such legislation and the UK government would have to go to court to enforce it.

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Mr Russell has long argued for more power and resources to be transferred to the Scottish Parliament to guarantee existing devolved powers over food safety and standards after Brexit.

The UK Government says it wants to mitigate potential border delays by minimising customs checks for food and feed imports.

Mr Russell has told the Financial Times the Scottish Government has accepted the need for “common frameworks” but objects to the UK government imposing its will on the devolved administrations.

The Welsh government shares Mr Russell’s concerns that the proposals could lead to it having to accept products and standards it did not want.

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