Scotland rejects key Brexit bill sparking fears of constitutional crisis

Scotland rejects key Brexit bill sparking fears of constitutional crisis

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard, who has been calling for cross party talks to resolve the dispute, said: 'This means that the vote on consent for the Withdrawal Bill at Holyrood today need not be the final word on this matter.

Westminster has never previously legislated over devolved areas without Holyrood's approval, leaving the future UK-Scotland relationship off to a rocky start.

The decision by the Scottish Parliament to refuse to give its consent to the Brexit Bill is a powerful, but largely symbolic, gesture.

Scottish Government ministers however fear the legislation, as it now stands, could see Holyrood's powers constrained for up to seven years after the United Kingdom quits the European Union and are demanding changes before they will give it the go ahead.

The dispute centres on who will have control of powers now residing in Brussels, such as over farming and fisheries, once Britain leaves the EU.

But the Tories hit out, claiming it was "patently obvious that Nicola Sturgeon wants a political crisis to provide cover for her independence drive".

Scottish secretary David Mundell said that, although Tuesday's refusal of consent for a Westminster Bill was unprecedented, the 1998 devolution legislation envisaged such a situation.


"They can not pretend that no motion has been passed".

"If they now move to force on this parliament an arrangement for restricting devolution that does not have parliament's consent they will do so in the full knowledge that they are breaking the 20-year-old devolution settlement and operating out with the agreed constitution". "They [UK government] have a decision to make as to whether they are going to ignore the views of the Scottish Parliament or listen to those views and try very hard to get a deal and to close the gap that remains between us", she said. MSP Ash Denham said that if Ms May's government valued devolution they would remove clause 11 from the Bill.

Months of negotiations has seen some agreement, and the Scottish Government are happy with the idea of common frameworks, but as long as Holyrood has the ability to accept or reject them.

Scottish Conservatives went further, accusing the first minister to seeking to provoke a crisis over Brexit as part of efforts to push for a second independence referendum.

Adam Tomkins, their constitutional spokesman, said: "A deal is there to be done on Brexit".

"The danger if I am being less optimistic, or pessimistic, is that the whole process crashes before [a deal] can emerge because time is running out and the clock is ticking", Sturgeon said on Monday.

"The SNP has taken the wrong path today". While some may be outraged over the principle of legislation being imposed on Scotland after it has been specifically rejected by their MSPs, "the practical consequences may not amount to much".

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