The New UK Internal Market: Rights, Politics and Devolution

Due to its departure from the European Union, the UK has been forced to consider how to organise trade and regulatory competences between its constituent parts (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland). The foundations for this new domestic internal market have been laid down in the UK Internal Market Act as well as in the so-called ‘common frameworks’; further impulses will come from the Brexit Freedom Bill which the government has announced. What kind of internal market is the UK constructing? What are its constitutional features? And what effects are the design choices to have for economic activity, regulatory standards, and the autonomy of the devolved administrations? This paper argues that although the new UK internal market shares some similarities with the EU internal market, it differs in some crucial aspects. The changes are likely to have a three-fold impact: greater judicialisation, de-regulation and centralisation.