Scottish Parliament Rejects Theresa May's Flagship Brexit Legislation As Constitutional Crisis Looms

Scottish independence is never off the table Sturgeon says

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.

Scottish Brexit Minister Mike Russell will now write to Theresa May's de facto deputy, David Lidington, calling 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".

It will be the first time since Holyrood was created.

Senior figures from the Scottish Government have repeatedly expressed concerns that the United Kingdom government will take control of devolved powers following Brexit in areas formally devolved but in practice regulated by European Union law, such as fisheries, environment, agriculture, animal welfare and aspects of public health and transport. But, when campaigner Gina Miller challenged the Government over the triggering of Article 50 in the UK Supreme Court, it concluded this was not a rule which could be enforced by the courts, leaving the UK Government able to pass the EU Withdrawal Bill without the consent of Holyrood.

The UK government and Scottish Tories have so far refused to offer any further concessions after the Welsh government dropped its opposition to the bill and accepted the power-sharing plans on offer.

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

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"We are likely to be joined by Labour and the Liberals and the Greens in the Scottish Parliament so it will only be the Conservatives that vote to go ahead", she said.

Although Welsh ministers said at the time the offer did not go far enough, following further discussions they reached agreement with the United Kingdom government in April on a different proposal.

The Scottish Conservatives voted against, and have blamed the SNP for the failure to find an agreement.

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. The Scottish Conservatives pushed hard for these changes and we are pleased to support them.

"The danger if I am being less optimistic, or pessimistic, is that the whole process crashes before that can emerge because time is running out and the clock is ticking", she said. SNP member of the Scottish parliament (MSP) Christina McKelvie said on Tuesday that clause 11 would allow Ms May's government to start dismantling the devolution framework on which the Scottish parliament is based.

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

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