Scottish government poised to reject EU Withdrawal Bill

Holyrood is expected to reject the EU Withdrawal Bill as it stands in a vote this week

Holyrood is expected to reject the EU Withdrawal Bill as it stands in a vote this week

The Scottish government has urged the Parliament in Edinburgh to refuse "legislative consent" for the highly contested EU (Withdrawal) Bill now being debated by lawmakers in London.

The Scottish government claims that clause 11 of the Bill, which is making its way through parliament at Westminster, undermines the devolution settlement with Scotland.

The Welsh deal in turn led the House of Lords to endorse the United Kingdom stance, increasing the likelihood the measures will be passed by the Commons.

The Edinburgh assembly voted by 93 votes to 30 to deny consent for the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, which is now going through the national parliament in London and is supposed to provide clarity on the legal position as Britain severs ties with the bloc.

The SNP, Labour, the Greens and the Liberal Democrats all voted against consent, with only the Scottish Conservatives arguing the changes that have already been made to the bill go far enough to protect devolution.

Scottish Conservative Murdo Fraser took apart the First Minister, before taking digs at the Scottish Labour Party and Lib Dems.

Brexit means powers that have been exercised by Brussels returning to the UK.

"They have a decision to make as to whether they are going to ignore the views of the Scottish parliament or listen to those views and try very hard to get a deal and to close the gap that remains between us".

Speaking in Holyrood, he said: "While the UK Government is delivering additional devolution. They can not pretend that no motion has been passed".

"I have said time and again it is unacceptable that the legislation gives the UK Government the power to ban the Scottish Parliament from legislating on devolved areas for up to seven years without the Parliament's consent".

Mr Russell will now write to David Lidington, calling on him come to Scotland to "hear the concerns of all parties and to discuss with the Scottish Government and the UK Government any new ideas from any of the parties".

The Welsh government agreed to give its consent to the Bill last month but Nicola Sturgeon's government at Holyrood has rejected what it characterises as a unilateral power grab. The Scottish Government has said it can't accept it without amendments. On that occasion the UK Government responded by removing those parts of the Bill. "It would be even more outrageous if, having seen Holyrood specifically refuse consent to this Bill, the Tories imposed it on Scotland against our will", she said.

Britain is set to leave the European Union on March 29, 2019.

European Union negotiators have rejected both options and Conservative Brexiteers have criticised the prime minister's favoured option of a customs partnership as unworkable and inconsistent with regaining full sovereignty from Brussels.

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