Alex Salmond: '˜Constitutional crisis' looming over Article 50

The triggering of the Article 50 process without a legislative consent motion (LCM) from the Scottish Parliament would 'result in a constitutional crisis', Alex Salmond has said.

Alex Salmond believes if Article 50 is triggered without Holyrood consent it would spark a 'constitutional crisis'. Picture: John Devlin

The former first minister said the UK Government is looking “increasingly boxed in” as it goes to the Supreme Court on Monday in the latest stage of the legal battle over Brexit.

The UK Government is asking the highest court in the land to overturn a High Court ruling that the Prime Minister must seek MPs’ approval to trigger the process of taking Britain out of the European Union.

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If the appeal is unsuccessful, the Government’s plans for Brexit could potentially be thrown into disarray with the devolved nations also intervening creating an increasingly complicated political landscape.

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Speaking on the Sunday Politics Scotland programme from Aberdeenshire, Mr Salmond said: “If the Supreme Court decided that there is to be a legislative consent motion in the Scottish Parliament, then I think we could assume that Philip Hammond would beat a road back to Edinburgh and adopt an altogether different tone than the one he adopted this week.

“It would put the Scottish Parliament, and in particular Nicola Sturgeon, in an incredibly powerful position.”

And if the Scottish Parliament voted against the motion, Mr Salmond said this “would certainly be a constitutional crisis that would have to be resolved.”

He added: “That crisis might even be a good thing for Scotland because it would put us in an extremely powerful position in terms of securing the interests of Scotland in the negotiations.

“There has to be a legislative consent motion. If the UK Government sweeps that away or says they aren’t going to invoke it, then that means they have to carry that motion against the clearly expressed will of the Scottish Parliament.

“So there you get two parliaments in direct opposition to each other and sometimes in politics you can only take on so many forces at one time.

“Currently the UK Government is lined up against the rest of Europe, against the Supreme Court, elements within the Conservative Party, the business community - and it’s a question whether they want to add the Scottish people and lots of members of the House of Commons.”