20:48Scottish Parliament Votes Against Giving Consent to UK's EU Withdrawal Bill


The Scottish parliament voted on Tuesday to refuse consent to Britain's flagship Brexit legislation, increasing constitutional uncertainty over how the exit from the European Union will proceed.

The devolved Edinburgh legislature voted by 93 votes to 30 to deny consent for the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, now going through the national parliament in London, which will cut political, financial and legal ties with the EU.

The two governments have been at loggerheads for months over how to manage 24 European Union powers that will return to the United Kingdom after Brexit, including over state aid for industry, genetically modified crops policy, fishing quotas and farm subsidies, after ministers in London made a series of concessions brokered by the Scottish Conservatives.

But, when campaigner Gina Miller challenged the Government over the triggering of Article 50 in the UK Supreme Court, it concluded this was not a rule which could be enforced by the courts, leaving the UK Government able to pass the EU Withdrawal Bill without the consent of Holyrood. "I hope the UK Government will make this simple change before the legislation is passed and respect the devolution settlement Scotland voted for".

The majority of Scottish lawmakers - 93 people - cast their ballots against the bill which defines post-Brexit sharing of power between regional authorities.

The prime minister briefed Conservative backbenchers on Monday about the two options her ministers are considering: a customs partnership which see Britain collecting tariffs on behalf of the EU; and a combination of technological and administrative measures created to diminish friction on a UK-EU customs border.

Plaid AM Adam Price said: "We are joining a very select club of national Parliaments, if we pass this motion today, that have voluntarily made a decision to cede their own authority".

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"We are likely to be joined by Labour and the Liberals and the Greens in the Scottish Parliament so it will only be the Conservatives that vote to go ahead", she said.

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.

"It strikes me that if the UK Government decides after tomorrow to carry on regardless, it demonstrates we were right not to take some of this on trust", she noted.

Scottish independence will never be off the table until it happens, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said on Monday.

He declared: "Nicola Sturgeon has refused to compromise".

Labour's Neil Findlay said there was still time to fix the bill.