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🔥🔥🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 🥊 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 NEW: Edinburgh/SNP says it will fight London/Tories is they legislate to force Scotland to accept whatever food standards emerge from post #brexit trade deals. This is only start of how Brexit threatens to break Union. Stay with me 1/thread
As @Feorlean Mike Russell, Scottish constitutional secretary tells @MureDickie the UK govt plans to enforce the new 'internal market' after Brexit risks provoking the biggest constitutional crisis since #Brexit vote in 2016...but why? /2
@Feorlean @MureDickie Because in order for UK trade negotiators to negotiate for "all UK" they basically need to be able create a "level playing field" across the Union so that whatever they negotiate applies to all - hence plans for a UK Internal Market Bill in the Autumn /3
@Feorlean @MureDickie It's not hard to see how that can create problems.

Because doing these trade deals, not just with the US, but also with the Asia-pacific CPTPP countries (like Aus, NZ etc) is going create hard choices on divisive stuff like GMOs, Pesticide residues etc /4
@Feorlean @MureDickie You'll have heard about "chlorinated chicken/hormone-raised beef)...but that's really only the tip of the political iceberg on trade, as the govt discovered recently with 1m signatories to the @NFUtweets that forced @trussliz to beat a tactical retreat/3…
@Feorlean @MureDickie @NFUtweets @trussliz But source with knowledge of the plans for the UK Internal Market Bill (White Paper, we hear in the next week or three) speak to the fact that Beis/DiT do NOT want to have hands tied to do these deals - that's ringing alarm bells./6
@Feorlean @MureDickie @NFUtweets @trussliz Farming, fishing conservation, environmental and animal welfare groups all note that despite the "warm words" on standards/welfare, the government is thus far allergic to enshrining those commitments in law - remember the block of amendments to Agriculture Bill? /7
@Feorlean @MureDickie @NFUtweets @trussliz So why does this threaten to ignite the constitutional powder keg?

Well, because when UK was an EU member, it's 'internal market' was effectively the EU's single market, with shared rules for everyone.

Then Brussels imposed the discipline. After #Brexit London must do so /8
@Feorlean @MureDickie @NFUtweets @trussliz That means cutting across policy areas - agriculture, foods standards, state aid - that are currently 'devolved' competences - partly because at the time the devolution settlements emerged no-one envisaged UK leaving the EU. Now the govt must create a UK level playing field/9
@Feorlean @MureDickie @NFUtweets @trussliz This would be challenging at the best of times, but when the devolved government is your implacable political opponent, as the SNP are the Tories, that is clearly a recipe for serious friction and tension as we head into next year's Holyrood elections./10
@Feorlean @MureDickie @NFUtweets @trussliz As new standards emerge - say using GMOs, or accepting cheaper imports with higher pesticide residues, or egg powder raised in batter cages - the Scottish/Welsh government is in a perpetual bind: accept them, or refuse them (and get undercut) /11
@Feorlean @MureDickie @NFUtweets @trussliz So @GeorgePeretzQC cites example of where UK does a trade that rules out minimum alcohol pricing (which the US, say, might say is anti-competitive, but is a Scottish govt policy) then to enforce the deal, the UK will have to legislate over heads of Scottish government /12
@Feorlean @MureDickie @NFUtweets @trussliz @GeorgePeretzQC And these are live issues - in the leaked reports of 2018 US-UK exploratory trade talks, US negotiators did bring up the question of how the deal would land in the devolved administrations. (h/t @DavidHenigUK for that one)...and the UK basically said 'we'll get back to you" /13
@Feorlean @MureDickie @NFUtweets @trussliz @GeorgePeretzQC @DavidHenigUK Well, now the #Brexit rubber is starting to hit the road. Parts of this government are very happy to pick the fight with the SNP as @michaelgove showed at weekend) dismissing the SNP anger as "confected" when it cuts to the heart of devolution/14…
@Feorlean @MureDickie @NFUtweets @trussliz @GeorgePeretzQC @DavidHenigUK @michaelgove The fact that the government is looking to barrel through this UK Internal Market legislation in the autumn is also raising concerns in the bits of Whitehall that are alive to the political/constitutional sensitivities here - this should 'Handle With Care' stamped all over it/15
@Feorlean @MureDickie @NFUtweets @trussliz @GeorgePeretzQC @DavidHenigUK @michaelgove But in the nature of this #Brexit there is ridiculously little time to implement a whole host of complex and delicate changes - just ask the hauliers, the logisticians, the chemical, pharma, and automakers - but we crash onwards. /16
@Feorlean @MureDickie @NFUtweets @trussliz @GeorgePeretzQC @DavidHenigUK @michaelgove None of which is to mention Northern Ireland and the other volatile bit of the Union which was, in theory, 'fixed' by the NI Protocol. Whether, in practice, that is the case will depend on its implementation, and how the politics of that lands in NI /17
@Feorlean @MureDickie @NFUtweets @trussliz @GeorgePeretzQC @DavidHenigUK @michaelgove The danger, as I see it, is that if the London govt treats Scotland with the disdain bordering on contempt that it has treated Northern Ireland these last four years, that accidents really might happen. FWIW I hope they don't. /18
@Feorlean @MureDickie @NFUtweets @trussliz @GeorgePeretzQC @DavidHenigUK @michaelgove You can read Mike Russell's letter to Michael Gove here, which elucidates some of the plans which are rattling the devolved administrations - but will also raise BIG Qs about UK govt's future real intentions standards/doing trade deals. /19
@Feorlean @MureDickie @NFUtweets @trussliz @GeorgePeretzQC @DavidHenigUK @michaelgove All this makes it timely that @anandMenon1 @UKandEU is hosting #isolationinsight webinar on Brexit and Devolution with @hayward_katy @DanielWinc @McEwen_Nicola ...this one is gonna run and run ENDS…
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