Clause 50 - Power to change or clarify existing traffic legislation

Part of Automated Vehicles Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee am 11:15 am ar 19 Mawrth 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Gavin Newlands Gavin Newlands Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Transport) 11:15, 19 Mawrth 2024

I am grateful for the hon. Gentleman’s intervention. Of course, if there is any diversion between the regulations, the Scottish regulations will be better than any brought forward by DFT. I joke, but the Scottish Government—and presumably the Welsh Senedd—have been in discussions about this for a long time. In fact, the issues the Scottish Government have with clause 50 were recognised by the UK Government themselves. I say that not just because of the facts the hon. Gentleman pointed out in the explanatory notes, but because the Government themselves have said that clause 50 will require legislative consent. This is not the Scottish Government being uppity; the UK Government themselves have said that legislative consent would be required, but they have now ditched that approach and seek to implement clause 50 without seeking any legislative consent from the Scottish Parliament.

What has happened says so much about the Government’s approach to devolution in recent years and completely overturns that principle of devolution. Either we have devolution or we do not—it is not for the Government to pick and choose which parts of legislation devolution is applied to. Devolution should apply in those areas that are not listed in the Scotland Act 1998. It is simple as that, yet the Government seem to want to change the rules and move the goalposts at will to stymie devolution at almost every turn. They snatch power from a democratically elected Parliament and Government and give it to a Minister of the UK Government, who it is fair to say currently have zero mandate in Scotland. That may change come a future election, but at this point this Government have no real mandate in Scotland, and yet they seek to override the will of the elected Parliament of Scotland.

The amendments in my name and those of Plaid Cymru colleagues would remedy that democratic deficit by placing a statutory obligation on the Secretary of State to obtain consent from the Scottish Parliament and/or the Senedd before legislating in areas that are not properly theirs to legislate in. The Scottish Government have made it clear throughout the consultation and drafting process that working across borders on issues such as this—as alluded to by the hon. Member for Easington, who serves with me on the Transport Committee—is undoubtedly good sense, benefiting the automated vehicle sector and ultimately all consumers across these isles.