Sunday, 17 June 2018 17:09



SNP Westminster Leader Ian Blackford will use a debate in Westminster tomorrow (Monday) to make the case for emergency legislation to end the UK Government’s EU Withdrawal Bill power grab on Scottish devolution.

The MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber will reiterate calls for the Prime Minister to halt the EU Withdrawal Bill to ensure it doesn’t curtail the powers of the Scottish Parliament, and pass emergency legislation to remove the power grab clause. 

The Speaker John Bercow has accepted a request by the SNP for an emergency debate on devolution. 

When the EU Withdrawal Bill was debated last week in the House of Commons, no Scottish MP was able to speak and the debate was allocated just 15 minutes - meaning the wishes of the Scottish Parliament were ignored.

In a letter to the Speaker, Ian Blackford said the Sewel Convention established the long-held practice that the UK Government cannot legislate in devolved areas without the consent of the devolved parliament. Clause 15 of the EU Withdrawal Bill has not received a Legislative Consent Motion from the Scottish Parliament, and it should not have been brought before the House for debate.

SNP MPs walked out of the Chamber during Prime Minister's Questions last week following repeated attempts to silence Scotland's voice. The SNP Westminster Leader had asked to use parliamentary procedure to pause the Brexit legislation to ensure the will of the Scottish Parliament is respected.

Ian Blackford MP described events in the House of Commons last week as a “democratic outrage” as the Tories’ power grab on devolved administrations was not debated in the chamber - and Labour abstained on a devolution amendment “in a shocking dereliction of duty”.

The Brexit legislation leaves Holyrood exposed to having powers taken without consent in areas including trade deals, environmental standards and food safety - all issues of key concern to the Scottish Parliament.

The SNP had tabled amendments to the UK Government’s EU Withdrawal Bill to protect the Scottish Parliament from a power grab as the UK leaves the European Union.

This followed the overwhelming decision of the Scottish Parliament to refuse consent to the EU Withdrawal Bill - a decision backed by the SNP, Labour, Greens, and Lib Dems, and only opposed by the Tories. A failure by the UK Government to amend the legislation in light of the Scottish Parliament’s decision would be a fundamental breach of the devolution settlement.

Commenting Ian Blackford MP said:

“SNP MPs will use our debate tomorrow (Monday) to make the case for emergency legislation to the Brexit Bill - we must ensure that Scotland is not ignored as we leave the EU.

“Proceedings on the EU Withdrawal Bill last week were a democratic outrage - and the Scottish Parliament must be respected.

“I am very grateful to the Speaker for granting us this time to debate devolution following the shambolic proceedings in parliament last Tuesday. 

“The Prime Minister gave a commitment that she would treat Scotland as part of a ‘union of equals’. Yet she pressed ahead with a power-grab in direct opposition to Scotland’s elected Parliament.

“We hear from the Prime Minister about respecting devolution - but the Prime Minister has ignored Scotland.

"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.

"History will remember this defining moment when the UK Parliament chose to reject devolution. This will haunt the Scottish Tories for a generation."

The SNP has been granted an emergency debate on Devolution and the EU Withdrawal Bill under Standing Order 24.

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