May disappointed by Scottish refusal to approve Brexit law


May disappointed by Scottish refusal to approve Brexit law

With the support of Scottish Labour, the Liberal Democrats and Scottish Greens, her government refused to give the European Union bill its legislative consent in the vote on Tuesday.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon attacked his position, arguing United Kingdom ministers wanted Holyrood "to take it on trust that they won't act without our consent", but had now confirmed they would.

Because of a general inertia among Scots over the issue, Nicola McEwen, politics professor at the Centre on Constitutional Change at Edinburgh University, suggested that the Scottish government should instead play the long game.

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

The Scottish Parliament rejected the current Brexit bill, setting up a clash between London and Edinburgh.

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.

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

"The blame for that lies entirely with the SNP".

The EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, left, and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon prepare for a meeting at EU headquarters in Brussels, last year. "It's not in Scotland's interests that the SNP prefers picking fights to making a deal". "But I don't think they should underestimate it".

But Scottish Labour's Brexit spokesman Neil Findlay said: "As the party that delivered devolution, Labour will always seek to defend and strengthen it". The SNP had its wings clipped and the narrative shifted to how Scotland can keep the powers it has after Britain leaves the EU.

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

Meanwhile, Scottish Liberal Democrat Europe spokesman Tavish Scott said: "The Brexit process has been chaotic and the treatment of the devolved administrations has been shoddy".

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".

"Labour know perfectly clearly what the position of the Scottish Parliament is and, of course, Labour will have the chance to influence that themselves on Tuesday when I hope the whole parliament will say the power grab is unacceptable".



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