Holyrood committee to begin scrutiny of emergency Brexit bill

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MSPs will begin their scrutiny of the Scottish Government’s controversial Brexit Bill, which is being rushed through Holyrood.

Holyrood is due to have its final vote on the Scottish version of the UK Government’s European Union (Withdrawal) Bill in just over two weeks time, on March 21.

The Scottish Government's Continuity Bill is making its way through the Scottish Parliament. Picture: TSPL

The Scottish Government's Continuity Bill is making its way through the Scottish Parliament. Picture: TSPL

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Members of the Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee will be the first to question Brexit minister Mike Russell on the legislation - which Presiding Officer Ken Macintosh has already ruled to be outside of Holyrood’s legislative competence.

However, Scottish Government ministers and Lord Advocate James Wolffe QC insist the proposals in the UK Withdrawal from the European Union (Legal Continuity) (Scotland) Bill do fall within the Scottish Parliament’s remit.

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The Scottish Government introduced the legislation to Holyrood last week amid an ongoing row over with Westminster over where devolved powers returning from Brussels should be exercised.

The Bill is being fast-tracked through Holyrood as SNP ministers have said it must be approved before the EU Withdrawal Bill completes its passage through the House of Lords.

Scottish Conservatives insist there is no need for it to be treated as emergency legislation, with Adam Tomkins arguing the Scottish continuity bill is “unwelcome, unnecessary and dangerous”.