Monday, 25 June, 2018

Scottish government poised to reject EU Withdrawal Bill

Scottish independence is never off the table Sturgeon says Scottish government poised to reject EU Withdrawal Bill
Melinda Barton | 15 May, 2018, 23:53

Imposing powers on Scotland would be unprecedented and fuel Sturgeon's demands for a second independence referendum, potentially providing the Scottish National party with a further justification for staging one.

The Welsh deal in turn led the House of Lords to endorse the United Kingdom stance, increasing the likelihood the measures will be passed by the Commons.

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".

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".

- How can it be the case that Westminster can introduce legislation against the will of the Scottish Parliament?

It means consent of the devolved legislatures will be sought for any changes to the powers held in Westminster, but if talks become deadlocked, UK Parliament will have the final say. The prime minister briefed Conservative backbenchers on Monday about the two options her ministers are considering: a customs partnership which see Britain collecting tariffs on behalf of the EU; and a combination of technological and administrative measures created to diminish friction on a UK-EU customs border.

"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". On that occasion the UK Government responded by removing those parts of the Bill.

The Scottish Parliament's refusal to back the bill through a legislative consent motion will not legally prevent ministers from pressing ahead, and the lack of an agreement in Scotland comes after a deal was reached between Westminster and the Welsh Government last month.

SNP, Labour, Liberal Democrat and Green MSPs are all expected to vote against backing the EU Withdrawal Bill, with only the Conservatives set to offer their support.

A source said: "It's a nonsense to pretend that the Scottish position is defending devolution. It would be even more outrageous if, having seen Holyrood specifically refuse consent to this Bill, the Tories imposed it on Scotland against our will", she said.

The Scottish Tories have issued a last-ditch appeal for the other Unionist parties to think again about siding with Nicola Sturgeon and withholding consent for the Government's Brexit Bill at a key vote at Holyrood today. He said the government would press ahead with the Bill but suggested it would be open to amending it to reflect Scottish concerns.