Welcome for rejection of EU Withdrawal Bill

MSPs voted by 93-30 against accepting the EU Withdrawal Bill.
MSPs voted by 93-30 against accepting the EU Withdrawal Bill.

MSP Joan McAlpine has welcomed Holyrood’s rejection of the Westminster Government’s EU Withdrawal Bill.

The bill was rejected by MSPs yesterday, with backing from all parties apart from the Scottish Conservatives.

It has been described by some as an attempt to strip the Scottish Parliament of powers after Brexit and while welcoming the vote, Ms McAlpine said the result was not a surprise/

She continued: “The UK Government’s EU Withdrawal Bill is a piece of legislation which fundamentally undermines the devolution settlement by imposing restrictions on the Scottish Parliament post Brexit.

“Clause 11 of the Bill effectively allows the UK Government to overrule the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government on devolved policies for up to seven years after Brexit.

“Allowing Westminster to control policy areas like farming and agriculture would be a massive blow for Dumfries and Galloway. Just last year, the UK Government was found to be misappropriating hundreds of millions of pounds of European farming subsidies destined for Scotland.

“All the indications were that Scotland’s Parliament would not consent to this Bill. Last Thursday the Finance and Constitution committee published its cross party report recommending that Parliament should not consent while Clause 11 remains, and that was a position backed by Labour, Lib Dem, SNP and Green MSPs – the Tories are out on their own on this issue.”

“Scottish Secretary David Mundell appeared before the Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Relations committee last week and failed to rule out imposing the UK’s Brexit Bill on Holyrood if Parliament did not consent to it today despite, being asked by four times by committee convener Ms McAlpine to do so.”

Ms McAlpine pointed out that every local authority area in Scotland voted to remain within the EU – including Dumfries and Galloway – but may face “the hardest of Brexits”.

She added: “What has been clear throughout this process is the Tory’s contempt for Scotland’s Parliament and the devolution settlement.

“But Scotland’s Parliament has spoken today in no uncertain terms to reject this attempted power grab, and it is now up to Westminster to respect the result of that democratic vote.

“The rejection of the withdrawal bill by the Scottish Parliament means the UK Government must now act to remove Clause 11 from the bill, or make further changes to secure Holyrood’s consent before the EU Withdrawal Bill is passed by the commons.”