Scottish Parliament Votes To Refuse Consent For Britain's Brexit Bill

17 May, 2018, 07:06 | Author: Clarence Schmidt
  • Nicola Sturgeon said it was time to scrap the'one size fits all approach to immigration

The Bill covers areas devolved to Edinburgh and therefore requires the approval of Holyrood.

However, this has never happened before, taking the country into uncharted constitutional territory.

But she insisted it was "right that we go ahead with measures that not only respect devolution but also ensure the integrity of our common market".

Labour and the Liberal Democrats have been accused of acting as the "midwives" for the breakup of the United Kingdom after they voted with the SNP to reject legislative consent for crucial Brexit legislation in the Scottish Parliament.

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.

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.

The SNP's leader at Westminster, Ian Blackford, said the vote showed the Conservatives were "isolated and out of touch with the people of Scotland". Ministers in both governments are discussing a fresh round of talks. This is absolutely unprecedented.


The SNP said it would be "outrageous" for the British government to impose the bill on Scotland.

The prime minister now has to decide whether to press ahead despite the vote or make renewed efforts for some kind of compromise.

"The Scottish issue is just one among many headaches", said Akash Paun, senior fellow at the Institute for Government in London.

Refusing to give its consent to a piece of Whitehall legislation will "certainly be a first" for the Scottish Parliament, says the BBC's Scotland editor Sarah Smith, "but one that can be overcome by Westminster".

Mundell said the focal point of the dispute was highly technical: "There did seem to be a fundamental misunderstanding among numerous MSPs [about] what this bill is about".

And he said Scottish government proposals for resolving the "very technical issue which has become the focal point of an unnecessary row" would effectively allow the Holyrood to veto measures which applied across the whole of the UK.

The Scottish Parliament passed its own version of Brexit legislation, called the Continuity Bill, in March by a margin of 95 to 32 to ensure it retains control of areas that are now devolved after Britain formally leaves the EU.

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