Carmichael Abstains on Crucial Power Grab Vote

Alistair Carmichael

Alistair Carmichael (photo James Gourley/Liberal Democrats)

Orkney and Shetland MP Alistair Carmichael, Liberal Democrat, abstained last night (12th of June) on crucial amendments to the EU Withdrawal Bill being debated in the House of Commons.

The amendment which was inserted into the Bill by the House of Lords was intended to protect the Devolution settlement for the 3 nations of the United Kingdom – Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

By abstaining on the Power Grab amendment Alistair Carmichael, his Liberal Democratic colleagues and the Labour Party MPs insured that the Tory Government would win the vote. The debate had been left with only 15 minutes to discuss the issue and no Scottish MPs were called as the time was taken up by Tory David Liddington,Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.

The vote for the amendment which would have retained the devolved powers with the Scottish Parliament was :

  • SNP:33
  • Plaid Cymru: 4
  • Green Party: 1
  • Liberal Democrat :1
  • Labour: 1

The Scottish Parliament with the exception of the Tories voted to protect the powers devolved to it. There is now a disconnect between the Liberal Democrats and Labour MPs who vote one way in the House of Commons – to remove powers from the Scottish Parliament – and the MSPs who voted to retain those powers.

During Prime Minister’s Questions on Thursday 13th of June the SNP MPs walked out of the Chamber when they were refused a private debate on the Devolution Settlement and to the threat to it by the EU Withdrawal Bill.

The passing of the EU Withdrawal Bill means that control over farming, fishing, the environment and many other issues including fracking will be controlled by London.

Reporter: Fiona Grahame

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16 replies »


    Tuesday evening saw the final evidence, should any be necessary, that there is no such thing as ‘Democracy’, in this country whose system of Government gets rottener by the day. Apart from their insistence on retaining an unrepresentative electoral system they also have an inane obsession of sticking to traditions and procedures that are more in keeping with the 18th century rather than the second decade of the 21st century. On Tuesday they spent almost as much time voting as they did debating, in the end leaving a mere fifteen minutes to debate the implications of the ‘Withdrawal Bill’ on Devolved matters. Fifteen minutes that was cynically used by David Lidington MP in a ‘filibuster’ denying opposition MP’s any chance a speaking in what was laughingly called a ‘debate’.

    In the end the Government got its way and we the Scottish Public can now expect our Parliament in Edinburgh to be over-ruled on the environment, fishing, farming and much more. Readers might like to know which MP’s voted against this ‘Power Grab’, they were all SNP, all Plaid Cymru, Dennis Skinner MP, Caroline Lucas MP, Greens and Wera Hobhouse MP, Lib/Dem, Bath (Notice no Carmichael). So, when consumers are faced with these horrors in the shops then you’ll know where blame lies.

    This democratic outrage led to all the SNP, MP’s walking out of PMQ’s and personally I hope that they now tell Westminster that the Treaty of Union of 1707 is ended, not that it ever was a Union of Equals, and that forthwith Westminster has no writ in Scotland to pass laws, collect Taxes etc. This should also be immediately communicated to the UN, EU and any other appropriate body.

    Long live the Independent, Sovereign Nation of Alba/Scotland.

    • But voting against the amendment would have, if successful, removed the concessions which the Government had made so far. For instance it would have brought the bill back to giving all powers coming back from Europe to the UK Government until they decided to hand them on, which is what the SNP voted for. Neither for or against were good options there, which is a problem with the way the SNP Government and Conservative Government approached this negotiation. Both were wrong, and Alistair’s abstention, while not by any means ideal, was better than voting either to entrench the UK Government’s position, which is what the SNP vote would have achieved, or providing the UK Government with support for something which was actively withheld by the Scottish Parliament. Do your homework. Poor reporting.

      • I think you will find if you do your research that it is the Scottish Parliament – SNP, Labour, Greens and Liberal Democrats who have refused consent to the EU Withdrawal Bill – by abstaining it allowed the rebel Tories off the hook. Abstaining did nothing. The People of Orkney and Shetland voted overwhelmingly to Remain and expect our representative in the UK Parliament to reflect those wishes.

  2. “The passing of the EU Withdrawal Bill means that control over farming, fishing, the environment and many other issues including fracking will be controlled by London.”
    Only if Scotland is still ruled by London.
    I’m just saying……….

  3. Well, people did know what they were voting for with Carmichael, so they shouldn’t be surprised. And he’s lived down to all our expectations.

    • Yes John that’s fair enough but when your representatives are given just 15 minutes and even this being filibustered by a Tory MP it’s hardly surprising that people were outraged. Also John every MSP, apart from the Tories, voted to withhold consent. I would further point out that May promised to treat the Scottish People and their Parliament with “Respect”. I hope you are not suggesting that behaviour up to now has been “Respectful”???

    • I’d suggest it’s an almost entirely different government, party make up, approach, political environment, set of circumstances and outlook from 2014.

      • Really? 2014: incompetent Tory coalition government.
        today: incompetent Tory command and support minority government.

  4. With Westminster incompetence is never in doubt. It’s a given constant. Even as a majority government, the Tories have been crippled by factions. In itself it’s really a loose coalition bonded together by the simple unifying principles of greed and racism.

  5. I’ve been thinking about this………..
    I’ve never understood abstentions. You either agree with something that matters, or you don’t. You’re either for something that matters, or you’re not.
    The first time I came across this kind of behaviour, was in Union meetings when some people would actually abstain from voting on strike action. I simply didn’t understand that. They were happy enough to accept the benefits which resulted from the strike action. They didn’t ‘abstain’ from those.
    The only explanation I can see for abstentions, particularly in politics, is…..a person being ‘politic’.
    Examples of politic in a Sentence
    1. It would not be politic to ignore them.
    2. the actor is politic in discussing the aborted film project, being content to say that there were “creative differences”
    And, I suppose I don’t understand it, because – thank heavens – I’m not ‘politic’ myself.
    The other aspect of this which puzzle me greatly is….that Lib/Dem, and Labour should take action which means that we will be ruled by Tories, willy-nilly.
    I am very puzzled.

  6. On TON Facebook page, people responding to this article are descending into calling names and being abusive. Stop it!
    That doesn’t solve anything, or produce anything, except for adding more wrong to the world – which has plenty of that commodity as it is.
    Have your say, but please, do so in a civilized and reasonable way.
    Personally, I’m very, very disappointed in this behaviour from our MP, and all those who took what is, to me, a very strange and in-explicable course of action – but calling names isn’t going to change anything, including the outcome of what happened on Tuesday.
    Enough, is enough.

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