Holyrood refuses consent for Westminster Brexit bill


The Scottish Parliament has turn down to give its consent to the UK’s main piece of Brexit legislation.

The Scottish and UK managements are at odds over the EU Withdrawal Bill and what it could mean for devolved powers.

Effort, Green and Lib Dem MSPs united to back SNP members in rejecting the Westminster account, saying it would restrict Holyrood’s powers.

The Scottish Conservatives voted against, and make blamed the SNP for the failure to find an agreement.

MSPs voted by 93 to 30 that Holyrood «does not go-ahead to the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill».

Westminster ultimately has the power to pioneer the legislation without the consent of Holyrood — but it would be politically difficult, and has not at any time been done before.

Speaking after the vote, Scotland’s Brexit secretary, Mike Russell, hustled the UK government to respect the will of the Scottish Parliament and find an acceptable figuring out.

He said: «The Scottish Parliament has now said overwhelmingly that this bid to undermine devolution is unacceptable.

«The UK government cannot ignore the reality of devolution or try to drench out what this parliament says. They cannot pretend that no action has been passed.»

Both the Scottish and UK governments insist that the door is calm open to finding a deal, although both sides also concede they remain some distance apart.

Scottish Conservative constitution spokesman Adam Tomkins about that the UK government had already made «radical» changes to the bill which had resulted in the Childbirth government in Wales dropping its opposition to it.

And he said it was «profoundly regrettable» that a handle had not been done between Scottish and UK ministers, saying that «the purely government that hasn’t compromised is the Scottish government».

Analysis by Sarah Smith, Scotland writer

The Scottish government insists this is a highly significant moment, as it is the gold medal time the Holyrood parliament has ever refused consent to a piece of Westminster legislation which is like as not to be imposed anyway, without consent.

It is certainly a constitutional first — but one that can be worsted by Westminster.

The UK government has the authority to simply impose the Brexit legislation on Scotland, gloaming if that is politically problematic. It would overturn 20 years of constitutional seminar and precedent.

This prime minister has ignored the will of the Scottish Parliament ahead of. This time last year it voted in favour of a second indyref and the PM foretold no. There was no noticeable uprising of popular outrage then. And there is unpromising to be so now.

Nicola Sturgeon rarely shies away from a fight with Westminster. It’s loosely good politics for her to say she is «standing up for Scotland» against ministers in London. She yearnings it helps build the case for why Scotland would be better off as an independent boonies.

Her problem is that this argument has not caught voters’ attention. The accurate of the Scottish Parliament to have a definitive say over regulations governing the use of pesticides does not manifest to cause great concern to Scots.

Some may be outraged over the criterion of legislation being imposed on Scotland after it has been specifically disallowed by their MSPs.

The practical consequences may not amount to much. Yet it is one more bane for Theresa May in the migraine-inducing process of trying to secure a Brexit deal.

Scan more from Sarah

What is the «power grab» row about?

The UK domination has published proposals that would see the «vast majority» of the 158 localities where policy in devolved areas is currently decided in Brussels go instantly to the Scottish and Welsh parliaments after Brexit.

But it has also named 24 blocks where it wants to retain power temporarily in the wake of Britain’s exit from the EU, comprehending in areas such as agriculture, fisheries, food labelling and public procurement.

It answers the «temporary restriction» on the devolved governments using some of the powers reoccurring from the EU is needed «to help ensure an orderly departure from EU law» and budget the same rule and regulations to remain in place across the whole of the UK.

But the Scottish supervision argues that it would leave Holyrood unable to pass laws in some devolved limits for up to seven years.

It has produced its own alternative Brexit legislation, which was obsolescent by MSPs in March but is currently subject to a legal challenge by the UK government.

  • Understand more here

During the debate, Mr Russell told MSPs that they needed to uphold the progress which has been made in the 20 years of devolution in Scotland.

He spoke: «It is our job to ensure that it is not cast aside because of a Brexit which Scotland did not guarantee for and which can only be damaging to our country.

«Today the challenge of Brexit — or quite the challenge of the proposed power grab by the UK government under the guise of discharging Brexit — puts our devolved settlement at risk.»

Mr Russell also know for sured MSPs that the Withdrawal Bill would add an «unprecedented, unequal and improper new legislative constraint», taking powers away from Holyrood for up to seven years.

And he powered that the consent vote «will not be the end of this process», as it applies exclusive to the bill «as it stands».

What has the UK government said in response?

The UK government’s Scottish secretary, David Mundell, averred he was «disappointed» by the vote, but said the UK parliament remains sovereign and can proceed regardless.

But he demanded he remained hopeful that an agreement could still be reached between the two authorities.

Mr Mundell said: «It’s something that was envisaged by the devolution settlement, that there power be circumstances where consent wouldn’t be given.

«That circumstance desire permit the Westminster government to proceed with legislation on that infrastructure, and that’s what we intend to do because the bill is already in the system.

«Plainly there’ll be the opportunity for debate and discussion in parliament, but also I hope between the two governments. I alleviate think we can resolve this issue, and that remains my objective.»

What are the other contributors saying?

A Scottish Labour amendment calling for «cross-party talks in an essay to broker an agreed way forward» was accepted, and Mr Russell said he would invite UK parsons to «hear the concerns of all parties» and to discuss «any new ideas».

The party’s Brexit spokesman, Neil Findlay, hold responsible the Conservatives and their «shambolic handling» of Brexit for the failure to reach an concord.

Scottish Greens co-convener Patrick Harvie hailed the «unity» demonstrated by SNP, Labour, Green and Lib Dem members saying they would «stand together in plea of the parliament».

Lib Dem Europe spokesman Tavish Scott said the negotiating oversights had failed to learn from the «ongoing farce» of Brexit, arguing that remaining the EU was «bad for the UK and bad for Scotland».

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