SNP leadership to directly challenge Theresa May over Brexit 'power grab'

May 17, 2018, 01:03
SNP leadership to directly challenge Theresa May over Brexit 'power grab'

The Scottish Parliament rejected the current Brexit bill, setting up a clash between London and Edinburgh.

But Scottish Brexit Minister Mike Russell said this will "not be the end of the process", as the two governments aim to settle their long-running dispute over where powers returning to the United Kingdom post-Brexit should be held.

The Scottish government has sought guarantees that powers now reside with the European Union are not returned to Whitehall after the United Kingdom leaves the EU.

They blocked the crucial legislation from being passed amid a row whether powers returned to the United Kingdom from the European Union should be handed to Edinburgh or London.

The dispute revolves around a clause in the Withdrawal bill that the SNP says limits the Holyrood parliament's lawmaking ability, as well as the powers of its devolved executive.

Challenged by SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford at Prime Minister's Questions, Mrs May said the Withdrawal Bill "respects devolution and lets us maintain the integrity of our own common market".

What are the consequences of the Scottish Parliament refusing its consent?

"This is a historic and significant moment for the Scottish Parliament and I hope with all sincerity that the United Kingdom government will respect the views of this parliament", Bruce Crawford, who heads the assembly's Finance and Constitution Committee, said after the vote.

Scottish Parliament poised to reject EU Withdrawal Bill amid devolution row

"The SNP has to wait and see what happens with Brexit", said Nicola McEwen, politics professor at the Centre on Constitutional Change at Edinburgh University.

However, Scottish Brexit Minister Michael Russell said it was unclear to him exactly what views the other parties would have.

Public talk of defying Brexit, though, dissipated after May's governing Conservative Party increased support in Scotland in last year's election, even as she lost her United Kingdom parliamentary majority.

He said: "It's patently obvious that Nicola Sturgeon wants a political crisis to provide cover for her independence drive".

How did the row between the United Kingdom and Scottish governments come about?

The Scottish Government argues that all powers not now reserved to Westminster should automatically be devolved. He added: "I still think we can resolve this issue, and that remains my objective".

She said: "The dual themes of action and influencing around Brexit will foster a dynamic event that will help define the future of rural Scotland as the United Kingdom approaches Brexit and in the years that follow".

Scotland voted against independence by 55 percent in a referendum in 2014, but Sturgeon insists she has a mandate to hold a second vote since Scotland voted against Brexit by 62 percent in 2016.

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