SENIOR Tory David Melding resigned yesterday from his position in the Welsh Shadow Cabinet (" Furious Sturgeon blasts Internal Markets Bill as an ‘abomination’", The Herald, September 10), saying the bill threatened the UK's survival.

Under Clause 46 of the bill, every power in Scotland that we have known since 1999 can be clawed back to Westminster. Our elected Scottish Government had discretion on how and where to spend much of EU investment, but in future all such investment decisions will be made in London.

The Internal Market Bill would prevent the Scottish Parliament introducing vital public health measures such as minimum pricing on alcohol or a smoking ban unless agreed by Westminster for the whole of the UK. One of the benefits of devolution is the ability to make policy to suit local needs and preferences, plus opportunities for policy innovation and learning. The bill will limit policy divergences and risks stifling innovation.

Our food standards and the environment are not safe in London’s hands, as evidenced on Tuesday when Tory MPs voted to remove the “sustainability clause” from the UK Fisheries Bill at the Fisheries Bill Committee which undermines any attempt to control over fishing. And in May, Scottish Tory MPs also voted against our farmers’ campaign to get protection for food and animal welfare standards added to the UK Agriculture bill.

It is too much to expect Baroness Davidson and her part-time football linesman to defend Scotland’s democracy but the silence from Sir Keir Starmer and LibDem Sir Ed Davy is deafening, as they just want to get Brexit done quietly.

Mary Thomas, Edinburgh EH11.

NEITHER Alan Sutherland nor Peter Russell (Letters, September 10) address my earlier argument about eligibility for a UK pension.

Mr Russell cites the state pension as a “benefit”, but it is a “contributory benefit”, and as such entitlement depends on National Insurance contributions during your working life. Sadly Mr Russell never does get round to telling us why, having contributed to Westminster’s pension scheme, a Scottish pensioner would not be paid the pension their contributions entitle them to, but Westminster would pay anyone else, irrespective of residence or nationality, who has worked in the UK with sufficient contributions?

More worrying is that the remainder of their letters do give us an insight into why Westminster might choose, irrespective of their liability to do so, to not to pay Scots the pensions they have earned. Mr Sutherland forecasts that “no British Prime Minister will ever keep his job if the voters get to hear he is going to pay the pensions of two million Scots without any tax revenues coming from Scotland”. In other words, the political reality in the rest of the UK trumps legal obligations and international law. Surely they wouldn’t do that …. Oh, yes, that’s right Brandon Lewis said this week, they would be doing just that if the EU didn’t play nice and see things their way in trade negotiations. References to Parliamentary sovereignty suggest a view that they can do what they want.

Mr Russell concludes: “And what if they don’t?”. Well, this would indicate no agreement, meaning Westminster’s conduct would justify, inter alia, Scotland taking on none of the £3 trillion (and rising) of UK debt, and Westminster becoming an international pariah with a reputation that stinks and being seen as totally lacking integrity.

Do either Messrs Russell or Sutherland consider such conduct, threats of force majeure and a complete disrespect for obligation and international law to be the kind of morality and integrity of a state we would want to continue to be part of? Are they not more like justifications for leaving?

Alasdair Galloway, Dumbarton.

NOW that the UK Government has said it is OK to break treaties, would this not be the perfect time for the Scottish Parliament to declare the Treaty of Union with England void? It is pretty obvious that the Tory Party will resort to whatever steps necessary to preserve the Union, so if Scotland is ever to get out from under the domination of England we must think like they do. Nothing less than independence will allow us to prosper.

I lived and worked in England for 40 years until I retired to Scotland 20 years ago so am well aware of how Scotland is viewed in England and how even in England London comes first.

Jim McAdam, Maidens.

EACH Wednesday, if you can be bothered, there's a piece of pantomime, televised by the BBC, called Prime Minister's Questions. This has become a formalised ritual where other MPs direct questions and/or observations at the leader of the party in government and he, because he has been briefed on the questions/observations beforehand, will demonstrate his skills of deviation, obfuscation and dissembling as he avoids answering these questions. I just wonder if democracy would be better served if the Speaker, instead of interceding when a Prime Minister has been accurately identified as a liar, would, on conclusion of one of the PM's tirades, have the power to say "Thank you, Prime Minister, for the drivel you've just delivered, now would you answer the question you were asked?"

Ned Larkin, Inverness.

TO use sporting metaphors, Dr Peter Dryburgh (Letters, September 9) gives his indyref2 game away by red-carding the Electoral Commission referee, and insisting on his own interpretation of a level playing field being one on which his side play both halves downhill.

Alan Fitzpatrick, Dunlop.

THE Holyrood inquiry into the Salmond case is reaching the proportions of farce. The Permanent Secretary, Leslie Evans, "forgot" about the presence of Ms Sturgeon’s chief of staff, Liz Lloyd, at a meeting with Mr Salmond, and remembered about it only once a Freedom of Information request revealed it ("Sturgeon’s husband: I was not told of Salmond complaints", The Herald, September 10). It seems that Ms Evans keeps neither a diary of meetings nor notes about meetings. Is this how senior professional civil servants normally conduct themselves?

Next up, that meeting is claimed by Ms Sturgeon to have been about "party business", which makes Ms Evans’s participation at least questionable, even under a regime where the lines between party and state seem to have become blurred. This meeting discussing SNP business was not attended by Peter Murrell, Ms Sturgeon’s husband, who is chief executive of the SNP and who was present in the Murrells’ house in Glasgow when the meeting was taking place. Ms Sturgeon, he claims, did not tell him what the substance of the meeting was, even though it was about "party business" and he is chief executive of the party.

Forgive me for a feeling of deep scepticism.

Jill Stephenson, Edinburgh EH14.

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