WESTMINSTER’S plan to force the devolved nations to abide by their lower standards will weaken building standards designed to prevent Grenfell-like disasters, a leading architect has warned.

The Internal Market Bill will seek to prevent trade barriers between the four UK nations by legislating so that goods approved for use in one part of the UK will not be able to be restricted in another.

This will mean that Scotland will have to accept the flammable cladding which caused the 2017 Grenfell fire, even though it is currently illegal to use here.

Peter Drummond, a senior member of the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS), said Scotland’s stricter regulations had prevented tragedies like that fire in London, which killed 72 people, happening north of the Border.

Drummond, whose architecture firm has offices in Glasgow and Kilmarnock, told the BBC that the Scottish Government introduced measures to protect occupants of residential properties after a fire in high-rise flats in Irvine in 2003.

READ MORE: National Extra: Tories' Brexit plan will have disastrous effect on Scottish building regulations

The architect went on: “Against that backdrop it is simply inexplicable that the bill seeks to align the more robust Scottish regulations with the English system.

"Those powers are now to be removed. The lowest common denominator within the UK will apply.

"And that is, on any fair reading, a spectacularly poor step backwards. We should all be concerned."

Scotland’s Constitution Secretary, Michael Russell, said this was “yet another example” of the dangers of the Tory “power grab”, adding that Alister Jack, the Scottish Secretary of State, “needs to start listening to those who actually know - like the architects, the farmers, the teachers, the lawyers.”

Russell told the BBC: "The 'UK Internal Market' White Paper cited building regulations as an example of a potential barrier to the functioning of the UK internal market.

"There is no credible evidence to support this view.

"Differences in building regulations between England and Scotland have existed for decades and do not present significant issues for those providing goods or services or to those delivering our built environment.

"The construction sector is familiar with such differences and these are well managed."