Published: Wed, May 16, 2018
People | By Neil Grant

Holyrood votes against EU withdrawal bill

Holyrood votes against EU withdrawal bill

A motion by the SNP administration in Edinburgh, which clearly states that the Scottish Parliament "does not consent" to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill, was approved by 93 votes to 30 on Tuesday.

"Let's be clear: Labour and Liberal Democrat support would not amount to backing for the UK Conservative Government".

May's government says it will consult the Scottish parliament on all changes to those policies, trying to seek agreement, while Sturgeon has decided that consultation is not enough and insists that her government should be given the legal power to block any changes it disagrees with.

With the European Union withdrawal bill due for its final vote in the Commons within weeks, May is running out of time to reach a deal before it becomes law. However the UK Government argues it needs to hold some powers - on a temporary basis - to allow common UK arrangements to be set up in areas such as fishing, farming and environmental regulations.

A year ago the Supreme Court ruled that the well established convention of Westminster not normally making laws in devolved areas is merely a political convention, which is not legally enforceable.

Britain as a whole voted in June 2016 to leave the European Union, but Scotland voted to remain.

"The UK government can not ignore the reality of devolution or try to drown out what this parliament says", he said.

It has never been done before by the devolved Parliament in Holyrood.

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

But, when campaigner Gina Miller challenged the Government over the triggering of Article 50 in the UK Supreme Court, it concluded this was not a rule which could be enforced by the courts, leaving the UK Government able to pass the EU Withdrawal Bill without the consent of Holyrood.

But Scottish Brexit Minister Mike Russell said this will "not be the end of the process", as the two governments aim to settle their long-running dispute over where powers returning to the United Kingdom post-Brexit should be held. MSP Ash Denham said that if Ms May's government valued devolution they would remove clause 11 from the Bill.

- Has Westminster ever pushed through legislation against Holyrood's wishes before?

If May chooses to disregard the Scottish vote, it could fuel First Minister Nicola Sturgeon's calls for a second referendum on Scottish independence and likely strengthen her argument that Scotland should be independent.

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