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

16 May 2018

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. "I just don't see how that can be characterised as a power grab".

But Conservative MSP Adam Tomkins said: "It's profoundly regrettable that we don't have a deal in Scotland to allow us to move on".

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, leader of the separatist Scottish National Party, said Britain is now heading into "uncharted constitutional territory" with a majority in Scotland's semi-autonomous legislature expected to oppose the bill.

In February, the United Kingdom government said it had made a "considerable" offer, which would see the vast majority of those powers returning to Cardiff, Edinburgh and Belfast while the rest temporarily stayed in London.

They have insisted the power retained by Whitehall would only be kept for seven years.

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.

"And giving support to the nationalists, they should be ashamed of themselves". It will report within the next few weeks.

"I'm not sure independence will ever be off the table until it's realised", she said.

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With the Greens, Scottish Labour and the Liberal Democrats having said they will join the SNP and vote against granting consent, it is certain to be passed when MSPs vote on the matter at 5pm on Tuesday.

A source said: "It's a nonsense to pretend that the Scottish position is defending devolution".

It is convention that AMs in Cardiff, and MSPs in Scotland, vote to give or refuse consent on Westminster legislation when it impacts devolution.

Michael Russell, the Scottish government's chief Brexit negotiator, said any attempt to use Brexit to restrict the powers of the Scottish parliament "will be noted here and across Europe".

Lidington has set out details of 24 areas he said would need to come under Westminster control immediately after the United Kingdom leaves the European Union to avoid short-term confusion in areas such as food hygiene, chemicals and animal welfare, which the Scottish Government says is unacceptable.

SNP, Labour, Green and Liberal Democrat MSPs all voted against consent, with only the Scottish Conservatives arguing the changes that have already been made to the Bill go far enough to protect devolution. He said the government would press ahead with the Bill but suggested it would be open to amending it to reflect Scottish concerns.

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".

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