MSPs vote overwhelmingly against triggering Brexit process

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Deputy First Minister John Swinney listen to Brexit Minister Michael Russell during a debate on Article 50 at Holyrood
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Deputy First Minister John Swinney listen to Brexit Minister Michael Russell during a debate on Article 50 at Holyrood
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The Scottish Parliament has voted against allowing the British Government to begin the process of leaving the European Union.

A Scottish Government motion agreeing that Westminster’s European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill should not proceed was backed by 90 votes to 34.

The Supreme Court ruled last month that there was no legal need for Holyrood to give its consent to the triggering of Article 50.

But First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she would let MSPs have a say.

Ms Sturgeon had said the vote would be one of the most significant to take place in the Scottish Parliament since devolution.

Michael Russell, Scotland’s Brexit minister, said: “This vote is more than symbolic.

“It is a key test of whether Scotland’s voice is being listened to, and whether our wishes can be accommodated within the UK process.

“So far, the UK government has not offered a single compromise of its own. In fact, it has offered nothing. Neither formal reaction to our proposals, nor formal rejection of them.”

Describing the Holyrood debate as being “about democracy itself”, he added: “It’s a debate about the sort of country the UK is becoming and the sort of country we in Scotland wish to be. And the contrast between those countries is stark.”

A Green amendment - stating that the decision to proceed with the Bill does not respect the majority vote to remain part of the EU that was returned in every council area in Scotland - was backed by 72 votes to 33, with 18 abstentions.

A Conservative amendment saying the Scottish Government should respect the result of the UK-wide EU referendum and rule out a second independence referendum was defeated by 92 votes to 31, with one abstention.

MSPs rejected by 102 votes to 20 with two abstentions a Labour amendment agreeing that there should not be a second Scottish independence referendum.

MSPs also voted against a Liberal Democrat amendment calling for the Bill to be rejected unless the UK Government agrees to a referendum on the final terms of Brexit. That amendment was defeated by 119 votes to five.

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