Wednesday, 20 June, 2018

Brexit: Scotland set to reject EU Withdrawal Bill

Scottish Parliament poised to reject EU Withdrawal Bill amid devolution row Scotland set to vote against Brexit bill
Leonard Rios | 17 May, 2018, 07:08

The Bill covers areas devolved to Edinburgh and therefore requires the approval of Holyrood. The vote is not legally binding, but it puts May in a tricky situation.

The Scottish Parliament is on course for a consitutional crisis after MSPs refused to consent to the United Kingdom government's EU Withdrawal Bill.

It saw the SNP joined by Labour, the Greens and Liberal Democrats in opposing the bill, with only the Conservatives in favour of granting consent.

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 has to wait and see what happens with Brexit", said Nicola McEwen, politics professor at the Centre on Constitutional Change at Edinburgh University.

He will call on him come to Scotland and hear "hear the concerns of all parties and to discuss with the Scottish Government and the UK Government any new ideas from any of the parties".

PA Wire  PA Images                   Prime Minister Theresa May speaks during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons London
PA Wire PA Images Prime Minister Theresa May speaks during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons London

The SNP MP warned Mrs May not to "veto the democratic wishes of the Scottish Parliament" and claimed "the Conservatives are isolated and out of touch with the people of Scotland".

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.

The British government said it would refer that bill to legal officers and a hearing is scheduled for July in the Supreme Court unless agreement can be found before then.

She added: "What the bill does is set out a mechanism that respects devolution and lets us maintain the integrity of our own common market as we work out the long-terms solutions". 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.

But the SNP argues that in its current state, the bill could mean that the powers of the Scottish parliament could be changed by the British government without the consent of the parliament for the first time ever.

Mundell told the BBC's Good Morning Scotland: "There did seem to be a fundamental misunderstanding among numerous MSPs [about] what this bill is about. It becomes a bigger issue at the point when the bill is completing its passage through Westminster".

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