Holyrood overwhelmingly votes against triggering Article 50

Posted On: 
7th February 2017

The Scottish Parliament has resoundingly voted against the triggering of Article 50.

MSPs showed their opposition to the UK government's Brexit timetable
PA Images

SNP, Labour and Green MSPs joined forces to vote 90-34 in favour of stalling the Brexit process following a debate at the Scottish Parliament.

Only the Conservative MSPs voted in favour of the UK Government's plans to begin the two-year withdrawal process by the end of March.

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Although not legally binding, the result once again highlights the difference in attitudes towards leaving the EU between Scotland and England.

First minister Nicola Sturgeon said it was "one of the most significant votes in the history of the Scottish Parliament", although she was not present for much of the debate.

Speaking beforehand she said: "This Holyrood debate is a chance for our national parliament to reaffirm the voice of the people of Scotland and make clear that, as a nation, we oppose the catastrophic hard Brexit now being pursued by the Tories at Westminster."

Scottish Brexit minister Michael Russell said the debate was "a key test of whether Scotland's voice is being listened to, and whether our wishes can be accommodated within the UK process".

"So far, the UK government has not offered a single compromise of its own. In fact, it has offered nothing. Neither formal reaction to our proposals, nor formal rejection of them," he said.

Scottish Labour also vowed to pause the process, despite the party’s leadership south of the border insisting that its MPs must back Article 50 being triggered.

Leader Kezia Dugdale reiterated her opposition to independence however, adding that Brexit and any attempt to take Scotland out of the UK were "two sides of the same coin".

"The only thing worse than Brexit for Scottish jobs and the economy would be independence," she said.

"Our nation is divided enough. Another referendum would do irreparable damage to the very fabric of communities across Scotland.

"But the reality is that the SNP has only been given the excuse to seek another referendum because of the mess the Conservatives have made of this whole process".

Scottish Conservatives' John Lamont said: "The Scottish government try to portray the Supreme Court ruling and the UK government's bill to trigger Article 50 as an example of Scotland being ignored.

"The truth is actually more simple. It is a matter for Scotland's other parliament to deal with and it is, as a reserved matter, one for Scotland's MPs to scrutinise."

The UK Government has repeatedly vowed to consult the devolved administrations of Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, but ruled out any region of the UK remaining in the 28 member bloc.