Scottish parliament decisively rejects European Union withdrawal bill

Scottish parliament decisively rejects European Union withdrawal bill

Lawmakers in the devolved Edinburgh assembly voted by 93 to 30 to refuse "legislative consent" for the highly-contested European Union (Withdrawal) Bill now being debated by the British parliament.

May's government says it will consult the Scottish parliament on all changes to those policies, trying to seek agreement, while Sturgeon has decided that consultation is not enough and insists that her government should be given the legal power to block any changes it disagrees with.

With the European Union withdrawal bill due for its final vote in the Commons within weeks, May is running out of time to reach a deal before it becomes law.

United Kingdom ministers have not said whether they will legislate without gaining consent from the parties.

It is the first time the devolved Parliament has withdrawn its stamp of approval for legislation coming from Westminster. As the EU Withdrawal Bill covers areas which are devolved to both Scotland and Wales, the parliaments in Edinburgh and Cardiff are required to vote on this.

Westminster has never before tried to legislate in devolved areas without the backing of Holyrood, however, so it is not clear what will happen next.

- How can it be the case that Westminster can introduce legislation against the will of the Scottish Parliament?

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The Welsh government agreed to give its consent to the Bill last month but Nicola Sturgeon's government at Holyrood has rejected what it characterises as a unilateral power grab.

Bruce Crawford, the head of the Parliament's Finance and Constitution Committee, said the vote was a "historic and significant" moment for Scotland and that he hoped the government in London would "respect the views" of the assembly.

Scottish Brexit Minister Mike Russell will now write to Theresa May's de facto deputy, David Lidington, calling on him come to Scotland and hear "hear the concerns of all parties and to discuss with the Scottish Government and the UK Government any new ideas from any of the parties".

Scotland's parliament is expected to formally reject legislation for taking Britain out of the European Union on Tuesday in an unprecedented move that would set the scene for a constitutional crisis. On that occasion the UK Government responded by removing those parts of the Bill.

- Has Westminster ever pushed through legislation against Holyrood's wishes before?

A motion put forward by the the Scottish government, which states the SNP administration "does not consent" to the EU Withdrawal Bill, triumphed by 93 votes to 30.

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