I HAVE just finished reading the UK Internal Market Bill.

The descent into totalitarianism continues. Emboldened by winning a General Election despite having illegally suspended the Westminster Parliament, the Cummings-Johnson diarchy continues its mission to centralise all the levers on power in Downing Street. Having made a pretty good fist of purging the Conservative Party of its remaining reasonable voices, they then set about dismantling the independent and impartial civil service.

Now, with a sleight of hand, they are attempting to neuter the devolved governments. The sleight of hand is the open admission that the bill breaks international law; the justified outrage caused by this announcement deflects attention away from the hatchet job it does on the Scottish Parliament, the Welsh Senedd, and the Northern Ireland Assembly.

The bill not only seeks to eradicate any trace of EU law, just as the Taliban sought to destroy any evidence of religious belief other than their own, it also lays out numerous ways (I lost count) in which devolved legislation can be overridden, suspended, ignored or treated as not existing. Anyone who makes even the most cursory attempt to read this bill will discover that Michael Russell hit the nail on the head when he told the Scottish Parliament it would enable the UK Government to “unilaterally and arbitrarily impose its rules on Scotland, regardless of the wishes of this Parliament”.

Peter Martin, Muir of Ord.

I AM deeply concerned by the Government’s plan to break promises made in the Withdrawal Agreement; an international treaty signed less than a year ago (" EU threatens legal action as UK accused of ‘reckless’ Brexit bill", The Herald, September 11). The Northern Ireland Secretary admitted this would break international law. The Internal Markets Bill would renege on commitments to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland and would set negotiations with Europe back to square one.

The Conservatives pride themselves on being the party of law and order, of economic stability and of the Union. Now the Government is openly breaking international law and paving the way to a no-deal economic disaster. How can the Conservative and Unionist party jeopardise the hard-won peace in Northern Ireland?

The Prime Minister does not speak for ordinary Conservatives. He was elected to deliver a comprehensive, "oven-ready" deal with Europe, which would help communities like mine. Yet his actions threaten not only the reputation of the Conservative Party, but the global reputation of the UK as a trustworthy nation. I am also cocerned about the economic implications, already at crisis level as a result of COVID, when as usual, the vulnerable groups in our society will suffer most. Finally, how can we, as a country, continue to criticise the actions of dictators who break international law when we do so ourselves. I find myself embarrassed to be British.

Ian Roxburgh, Kilmarnock.

NOT so long ago, the UK was well respected internationally, notwithstanding its faults and eccentricities. Then, sadly, the status of laughing stock developed as Brexit negotiations descended into embarrassing absurdity. Now, as the UK Government considers itself exempt from international law, the status of pariah state has been achieved. Sic transit Gloria.

Roy Pedersen, Inverness.

MARY Thomas (Letters, September 11) makes some excellent points regarding the Tory power grab of devolved powers via the UK Internal Market Bill. Labour’s silence on the matter is disturbing, and to date no Labour MP has signed the multi-party amendment to reject the second reading as it breaks international law and contrary to the established devolved settlement.

When Lord George Foulkes and Jackie Baillie claim credit for pressurising the BBC into dropping our First Minister’s daily Covid briefing at a time when the virus is increasing and the launch of the important Protect.Scot App, it shows where Labour’s priorities lie when not undermining Richard Leonard.

The public health briefings on the main TV channels are vital particularly for our elderly and vulnerable citizens who do not have internet and could be confused if they rely on hostile right-wing tabloid press headlines.

Fraser Grant, Edinburgh EH9.

I HOPE David Cameron can sleep at night.

Boris Johnson, on the other hand, can sleep no matter what side he is lying on.

Michael Carmichael, Campbeltown.

IF there is to be another divisive referendum in the next few years (which would be well within a “generation”) then there must be a level playing field and not the same terms meekly agreed by David Cameron in the deal between Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon in 2012. For example, as 55 per cent was unacceptable to the separatists last time (when they lost) it is clear that a similar margin in favour of breaking up the Union would not be acceptable to the Unionists – whereas a minimum of 60%-plus should be a decisive result to leave rUK.

Furthermore, it would unacceptable for a 16-year-old recent immigrant to have a vote and yet Scots living in rUK are denied - after all we are still part of the Union. But perhaps the most contentious concession agreed by David Cameron was the wording on the ballot paper (“Yes” or “No”) which was clearly biased in favour of the nationalists. This time round (in my view) it should be up to the Electoral Commission to have the final say and not yield to pressure from one side or the other.

The fact the SNP binned Andrew Wilson’s Growth Commission report, can’t agree its own GERS figures, is unable to explain what currency we would use in the short, medium or longer term, is unclear about who would fund our state pensions (which is paid out of current national insurance contributions) and also gives the illusion that it could pick and choose which part of the EU it want to join surely requires some honest answers. It is therefore essential voters are given the facts from unbiased credited sources and not left to fake news from career politicians, social media and others to con the voters. Scotland deserves better.

Ian Lakin, Aberdeen AB13.

IMITATION is the sincerest form of flattery. Nicola Sturgeon and her party are going to be hard pressed to decline any request from the Shetland Islands to break away from the mainland ("Shetland in fresh bid to become independent from Scotland", The Herald, September 11). Just what arguments against the "will of the people" can the SNP come up with? The proposed loss of Shetland, and its wealth, would seriously damage the chances of a successful outcome for Scottish independence. She might even have to ask Westminster to help by claiming this is a "material change in circumstances." As ye sow so shall ye reap.

Dr Gerald Edwards, Glasgow G77.

I AM more than happy for the Northern and Western Isles to seek semi-autonomous, or fully autonomous status. I think that would be an ideal solution for these distinct, outlying communities. Would they do so? This is not a new issue, but the only polling I have seen on the matter was a Press and Journal poll in 2013, which showed 82 per cent of islanders wishing to stay Scottish with only eight per cent wishing to be fully independent; this, after Tavish Scott had agitated for Crown Dependency status for the islands. I also seem to recall Alistair Carmichael promising more powers for the Islands when he was Secretary of State for Scotland. Did he do so?

There is a certain frisson of delight watching the contortions and hypocrisy of Anglo-British politicians and pundits, pushing for the self-determination of some Scots, while refusing it for the rest.

GR Weir, Ochiltree.