Scottish parliament refuses consent for Britain's EU withdrawal bill

Clay Curtis
May 16, 2018

Scottish Government Brexit Minister Mike Russell said Mrs May's administration in Westminster had "no mandate" to "undermine the devolution settlement".

The Welsh and Scottish first ministers had both called the United Kingdom government's original plans for the bill a "power-grab" as it would have meant powers in devolved areas such as food labelling - now operated by the European Union in Brussels - would transfer directly to Westminster rather than to the devolved administrations post Brexit.

SNP member of the Scottish parliament (MSP) Christina McKelvie said on Tuesday that clause 11 would allow Ms May's government to start dismantling the devolution framework on which the Scottish parliament is based.

May is struggling to unite her cabinet over customs arrangements for trade after Brexit, is under threat of a mutiny by some lawmakers and her EU Withdrawal Bill has been torn apart by the House of Lords, the upper chamber of the U.K. Parliament at Westminster.

"They have a decision to make as to whether they are going to ignore the views of the Scottish parliament or listen to those views and try very hard to get a deal and to close the gap that remains between us". "I just don't see how that can be characterised as a power grab".

Scotland's government wants those powers to be under Scottish control, while the British government argues they should reside in London, at least initially.

"And giving support to the nationalists, they should be ashamed of themselves". On that occasion the UK Government responded by removing those parts of the Bill.

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"I have said time and again it is unacceptable that the legislation gives the UK Government the power to ban the Scottish Parliament from legislating on devolved areas for up to seven years without the Parliament's consent".

Lawmakers in the devolved Edinburgh assembly voted by 93 to 30 to refuse "legislative consent" for the highly-contested European Union (Withdrawal) Bill now being debated by the British parliament.

Despite the speech, the Scottish Parliament passed a motion stating it does not consent to the UK Government's EU Withdrawal Bill.

He wants the Tory minister to come to Scotland and "hear the concerns of all parties" after SNP, Labour, Liberal Democrats and the Greens joined together in the vote.

European Union negotiators have rejected both options and Conservative Brexiteers have criticised the prime minister's favoured option of a customs partnership as unworkable and inconsistent with regaining full sovereignty from Brussels.

Its Labour chair David Rees AM said: "We remain particularly concerned that the assembly's ability to pass laws in devolved policy areas such agriculture could be constrained by the UK Parliament, even in circumstances where the assembly has refused consent for such constraints to be imposed".

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