Scottish Parliament refuses consent for Britain's European Union withdrawal bill

Scottish Parliament refuses consent for Britain's European Union withdrawal bill

The British government will press ahead with the EU Withdrawal Bill despite the Scottish parliament's decision to withhold its consent for the legislation.

However, Scottish Government Brexit minister Michael Russell has put forward a motion stating that Holyrood will refuse permission for the changes on the grounds it would "constrain the legislative and executive competence of the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government".

The SNP, Labour, the Greens and the Liberal Democrats all voted against consent, with only the Scottish Conservatives arguing the changes that have already been made to the bill go far enough to protect devolution.

A source said: "It's a nonsense to pretend that the Scottish position is defending devolution".

"Any constraints placed on Holyrood's existing powers without Holyrood's consent would be a democratic outrage - and it would fly in the face of the fundamental principles of devolution".

Plaid AM Adam Price said: "We are joining a very select club of national Parliaments, if we pass this motion today, that have voluntarily chose to cede their own authority".

After MSPs voted by 93 to 30 against consent to the Withdrawal Bill, Scottish Brexit Minister Mike Russell demanded: "The UK Government must respect the will of the Parliament".

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Both governments agree that these policies should be implemented universally across the United Kingdom and that the powers should be shared between the regional governments in London, Edinburgh, Belfast and Cardiff. "That is for the UK Government to remove the clause that fundamentally undermines devolution and to proceed on the basis of agreement".

That is why I must recommend the Scottish Parliament votes against accepting the bill in its current form.

The Tory MP added: "We have worked hard over the past year to try to secure the support of the Scottish Government, and have put a considerable offer on the table with the vast majority of devolved powers automatically flowing from the European Union to Belfast, Cardiff and Edinburgh". He said the government would press ahead with the Bill but suggested it would be open to amending it to reflect Scottish concerns. With First Minister Nicola Sturgeon due to consider the issue of a possible second independence referendum this autumn, Westminster been seen as "ignoring" Holyrood could impact on her thinking.

Adam Tomkins, the Scottish Conservatives' constitutional spokesman, said: "It's patently obvious that Nicola Sturgeon wants a political crisis to provide cover for her independence drive. It is deeply regrettable that the SNP has refused to take it".

But SNP MSP Ash Denham responded: "The Tories think they can do whatever they like to Scotland and get away with it".

Scottish Green co-convener Patrick Harvie was also clear his party's MSPs would "not consent to the UK Government's assault on the powers of the Scottish Parliament".

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