SNP fury as Government accused of “disrespecting” Scottish Parliament over Brexit bill
The SNP have accused the Government of “disrespecting” the Scottish Parliament after Brexit Bill’s devolved powers vote.
The party said ministers were trying to “dismantle” the Scottish Parliament after MPs were granted only 15 minutes to discuss the return of devolved powers from Brussels during last night’s Brexit debate.
MPs have been granted 12 hours to debate and vote on amendments added to the Government’s flagship Brexit legislation by the House of Lords. But time constraints meant that a controversial devolution clause was only given minutes to be scrutinised by MPs on the floor of the House.
Instead, more than a dozen MPs used Points of Order to express their outrage to the Speaker over the lack of time set aside to debate the issue.
SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford lashed out at the Government by saying that the vote “defied the will of the Scottish people.”
“We are witnessing the biggest ever attack on devolution with Scotland’s voice silenced by the Tories. Events in Westminster have been absolutely outrageous," he said.
“The Tories campaigned against the Scottish Parliament in 1997 and now they are actively dismantling it – they really think they can do anything they want to Scotland and get away with it.
“The Tories haven’t won a democratic mandate from the people of Scotland for over 60 years, yet they press on to claw back powers from Holyrood without consent. Their respect for Scotland is skin-deep at best.
“The Tory Government has downgraded devolution, disrespected the Scottish Parliament and defied the will of the Scottish people.”
The controversial deal between the UK Government and the Scottish and Welsh administrations over the return of devolved powers after the UK exits the EU was rejected by MSPs in the Scottish Parliament in May, leading to a Supreme Court case set to be heard next month.
But Scottish Secretary David Mundell dismissed the criticisms, saying he was “disappointed” that the Scottish Government had not been willing to support the Government’s proposed deal.
“The EU Withdrawal Bill provides certainty for business and families in Scotland as we leave the EU. It fully respects both the spirit and letter of the devolution settlement,” he said.
“It guarantees the vast majority of powers returning from the UK will go directly to Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast. In a small number of areas current arrangements will remain in place until we can create new UK-wide frameworks.”
"We have made strenuous efforts during a year of negotiations to reach agreement with the Scottish Government and Welsh governments. We are disappointed the Scottish Government did not support it, as the Welsh Government has done.”