Sunday, 17 June 2018 17:12



SNP Westminster Leader Ian Blackford has said Scotland “will not accept or forget” the Tory government’s “smash and grab” raid on devolved powers – warning the move will “haunt the Tories for a generation” in the same way that the Poll Tax did.

Speaking ahead of the SNP’s emergency debate on devolution in the House of Commons tomorrow, the MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber said the UK government must now “come to the table with emergency legislation not just more excuses”.

Mr Blackford will say the Prime Minister has a personal responsibility to bring forward emergency legislation to end the power grab, resolve the constitutional crisis, and rectify the breakdown in trust the UK government has caused by ignoring the will of the Scottish Parliament on devolved matters.

The Sewel Convention established the long-held practice that the UK Government cannot legislate in devolved areas without the consent of the devolved parliament. The Scottish Parliament voted overwhelmingly, by 93 to 30, to refuse legislative consent for Clause 15 of the EU Withdrawal Bill, and as such it should have passed through the House of Commons without the Clause being removed. 

The Clause would allow the UK government to legislate in important devolved areas including the environment, food standards, agriculture and fishing. The SNP were joined by Labour, Green and Lib Dem MSPs in voting to withhold consent – with only the Scottish Tories backing the power grab.

Speaking ahead of the debate, Ian Blackford MP said:

“Scotland will not accept or forget the Tory government’s smash and grab raid on the devolved powers of the Scottish Parliament – it will haunt the Tories for a generation just as the Poll Tax did.

“The UK government must now come to the table with emergency legislation, not just more excuses that simply will not wash with the Scottish people.

“The Prime Minister has a personal responsibility to bring forward emergency legislation to end the power grab, resolve this constitutional crisis, and rectify the severe breakdown in trust that the UK government has caused by ignoring the will of the Scottish Parliament.

“The UK government’s behaviour is unprecedented, undemocratic, and completely unacceptable – breaking the UK’s constitutional conventions, and ripping up Scotland’s devolution settlement.

“There will be no business as usual until this attack on devolution ends. Scotland will not be silenced, and the SNP will do everything in our power to defend devolution and protect Scotland’s interests.”

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

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