Published: Thu, May 17, 2018
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

EU Withdrawal Bill rejected by Scotland: What happens next?

EU Withdrawal Bill rejected by Scotland: What happens next?

The United Kingdom's European Union withdrawal bill is being now debated in the country's parliament and is due for the final vote in the House of Commons in the coming weeks.

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.

The dispute revolves around a clause in the Withdrawal bill that the SNP claims limits the lawmaking ability of the Scottish Parliament by letting London seize too many powers being returned from Brussels.

At issue is a bitter dispute between Westminster and Holyrood over powers now held by Brussels, which the SNP wants devolved after Brexit.

But it has also named 24 areas where it wants to retain power temporarily in the wake of Britain's exit from the European Union, including in areas such as agriculture, fisheries and food labelling.

The Welsh government agreed to give its consent to the Bill last month but Nicola Sturgeon's government at Holyrood has rejected what it characterises as a unilateral power grab.

"The Scottish Parliament has spoken loudly and clearly - it's now up to the United Kingdom government to respect that vote and ditch their power-grab", SNP Scottish lawmaker Ash Denham said in a statement.

"Like a cut that begins with a trickle and develops into an arterial gush, the damage that is Brexit is leaking and spreading", she said.

Although the Scottish Parliament has no veto over the bill, the refusal to give consent is likely to cause a constitutional clash between Westminster and Holyrood.

"If this government forces through the legislation without the consent of the Scottish Parliament, the prime minister will be doing so in the full knowledge that they are breaking the 20-year-old devolution settlement".

"The Government has completely redrafted this bit of the Withdrawal Bill in order to accommodate the sensitivity that actually these powers will, in the end, come to the Scottish Parliament".

"Obviously, there'll be an opportunity for further debate and discussion in parliament but also I hope there'll be the opportunity for debate and discussion between the two governments".

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.

"That is a reasonable and sensible way forward", the Prime Minister said. Ministers in both governments are discussing a fresh round of talks.

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