Scotland will veto Theresa May's repeal bill, Holyrood minister suggests

Posted On: 
2nd October 2016

Scotland could veto Theresa May's flagship repeal bill and spark a constitutional crisis, an SNP minister has hinted.

Scottish Brexit minister Michael Russell says Holyrood could veto Theresa May's repeal bill
PA Images

Michael Russell, the Scottish government's Brexit minister, said Holyrood will have to give its approval to the legislation.

Mrs May announced today that she will introduce the bill, which would scrap the 1972 European Communities Act, next spring.

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But Mr Russell said the Scottish Parliament will need to vote for it in a so-called 'legislative consent motion' before it can become law.

Appearing on the BBC's Sunday Politics Scotland, Mr Russell said: "There are issues which are issues for the Scottish government, they are not issues for the UK government.

"A piece of legislation such as Theresa May is now promising, this great repeal act, will require the approval of the Scottish parliament. A legislative consent motion will be required.

"The Scottish government and Scottish Parliament has a formal role there. We need to make sure we are in there discussing these matters. On a range of matters from free movement of people to education we are not hearing that Scotland’s vital interests are being protected. 

“At present there is a majority against a repeal bill, that is absolutely obvious. There have been three votes in the  Scottish Parliament in the last four weeks on European matters, all of them have been in favour of the single market and issues like that and against what appears to be the current position of the hard Brexiteers, who are trying to force Theresa May into their camp."

But speaking at the Conservative party conference in Birmingham, Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson insisted Scotland will not be able to block Brexit.

She said: “There is an acceptance this was a UK-wide vote. The UK is the member state. There is no veto for the devolved administrations in this. We’ve already heard part of the process this morning from the PM in terms of a vote going ahead in the House of Commons on the repeal bill. There are 56, 55, 54 by this afternoon 53 SNPs MPs and they can do whatever they like."


Mrs May also told the conference that she will not be held to ransom by any of the devolved administrations.

She hit out as "divisive nationalists" she accused of trying to break up the UK.

"The negotiations between the United Kingdom and the European Union are the responsibility of the Government and nobody else," she said.

"I have already said that we will consult and work with the devolved administrations for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, because we want Brexit to work in the interests of the whole country.  And we will do the same with business and municipal leaders across the land.  

"But the job of negotiating our new relationship is the job of the Government.  Because we voted in the referendum as one United Kingdom, we will negotiate as one United Kingdom, and we will leave the European Union as one United Kingdom.  There is no opt-out from Brexit.  And I will never allow divisive nationalists to undermine the precious Union between the four nations of our United Kingdom."