The Scottish Government has described the attack on the Devolved Administrations by the failure of the House of Commons to amend the EU withdrawal Bill, ignoring the will of the Scottish Parliament, as a ‘dark day’.
The Scottish Parliament overwhelmingly passed a Continuity Bill which would ensure that the powers which Scotland currently have remain with only the Tories voting against it.
The debate in the House of Commons on Tuesday 12th of June left only 15 minutes for the issue of devolution. This means that control over a range of matters currently managed in Scotland by the Scottish Parliament will be taken over by the UK Government and controlled from London.
Michael Russell, Minister for UK Negotiations on Scotland’s Place in Europe in the Scottish Government said:
“For almost 20 years, decisions made by the Scottish Parliament on issues affecting devolution have been final.
“Today, the UK Government tore up the constitutional rule-book and imposed its will in the face of an overwhelming vote in the Scottish Parliament.
“The fact that they rail-roaded this measure through with no time for speeches from anyone other than the UK Government Minister shows utter contempt for Scottish democracy.
“This is a dark day for devolution.
“Forcing through a law that could freeze the powers of the Parliament for up to seven years without its consent, means our hands will be tied in relation to farming, fishing, the environment, food standards and a host of other devolved area.
“The UK Government today had a duty to amend the bill to respect the will of the Scottish Parliament. They failed to do so. Further Brexit bills will also require the consent of the Scottish Parliament – and yet the UK Government has decided to use this moment to tear up the rules that have until now protected devolution.
During the 2014 Independence Referendum Scotland was promised that a No vote would insure that it would continue to be a member of the EU. In the Brexit Referendum the whole of Scotland voted to Remain in the EU.
A constitutional crisis now looms in the UK.
Michael Russell said: “We will reflect on this situation carefully as we consider next steps.”