Anger as devolution row is ‘squeezed out’

Theresa May speaking in the House of Commons. Picture: PA Wire
Theresa May speaking in the House of Commons. Picture: PA Wire
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Controversial plans for post-Brexit devolution are set to be approved this evening with little or no debate in the House of Commons, prompting condemnation from opposition MPs.

Parts of the EU Withdrawal Bill allowing UK ministers to freeze two dozen powers in devolved areas at Westminster could even be approved without ever being voted on in either parliamentary chamber, having been nodded through by peers. With three hours set aside for amendments including on the Irish border, sources expect debate on the alleged ‘power-grab’ to be “squeezed out”. The SNP’s Europe spokesman Stephen Gethins accused the UK Government of “showing a complete disregard for devolution”.

“At every step of the way the UK Government has avoided scrutiny,” Mr Gethins said. “We were promised that MPs would be able to debate the UK Government’s power grab only to told that only unelected Lords would be given the opportunity.

“Now it looks as though time to consider the latest amendments will be squeezed... It is not good enough.”

Shadow Scottish Secretary Lesley Laird said the arrangements were “shambolic” and added: “The least that could be expected is that MPs be given adequate and appropriate time to debate what is clearly a complex issue.”

Liberal Democrat MP Christine Jardine said she was “stunned”.