The Scottish Government has ‘reluctantly’ decided not to reconsider The Continuity Bill.
The Scottish Parliament overwhelmingly passed The Continuity Bill which would have protected the powers devolved to the parliament and ensured that the Scottish economy and society was buffered from the worst aspects of a hard Brexit. The UK Government challenged this in the Supreme Court. The Scottish Parliament can only pass Bills – for them to become Acts they have to be consented to by the UK Parliament – to receive Royal Assent.
In the passage of time over that taking place the House of Lords altered the UK Withdrawal Bill which then was passed with Royal Assent. This Act now applied to devolved matters and this ensured The Continuity Bill was neutered . Although the Scottish Parliament had been perfectly within its rights to pass The Continuity Bill when it did because The Withdrawal Act had now been passed it basically had been rendered toothless. The Scottish Parliament refused to give its consent to The Withdrawal Act.
The Scottish Government now intends to develop arrangements that go towards safeguarding environmental and animal welfare standards which are currently applied. It also wishes to protect the position of Scots Law and to keep “pace with EU law in new legislation.”
In a letter to the Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament, Ken Macintosh- Michael Russell, the Scottish Government’s Constitutional Relations Secretary states:
“We must therefore move forward, though exactly how we do that is still not clear owing to the chaos that continues to surround the UK Government’s handling of the EU exit process.”
In the future what this all means is that no matter what Bills the Scottish Parliament votes for, the UK Parliament, if it doesn’t like them, can simply amend the Scotland Act and the Bills will be invalid.
Reporter: Fiona Grahame