Scottish Greens would vote against Brexit bill at Holyrood

Scottish Greens MSP Ross Greer launched a Brexit position paper calling for control of the immigration system to be devolved to Holyrood. Picture: John Devlin
Scottish Greens MSP Ross Greer launched a Brexit position paper calling for control of the immigration system to be devolved to Holyrood. Picture: John Devlin
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The Scottish Greens would vote against an EU Withdrawal Bill in its current form if MSPs are asked to support a consent motion from Westminster, the party’s external affairs spokesman has said.

Ross Greer accused the UK Government of a “power grab” on environmental law failing to protect the rights of EU citizens in the country.

The MSP spoke out as his party launched a position paper on Brexit, which calls for control of the immigration system to be devolved to the Scottish Parliament to end the UK’s current “punitive measures”.

The Greens are also calling on the SNP Government to use its existing powers to create a new environmental court in Scotland to replace functions currently fulfilled by the European Court of Justice.

“At this point we would vote against giving legislative consent to the Repeal Bill,” Greer told The Scotsman. “We will not give legislative consent to anything that erodes devolution or represents a massive power grab by the Westminster Government. We will not give consent to anything that threatens the rights of European citizens or the environment.”

The passage of the Brexit bill through Westminster may require an accompanying legislative consent motion (LCM) at Holyrood as quitting the EU impinges upon devolved powers such as justice and agriculture.

The Scottish Government’s Brexit minister, Michael Russell, has previously indicated that Holyrood’s consent to granting an LCM was “not a given”.

The UK Government has insisted Holyrood will gain significant new powers after Brexit.

The Greens’ paper restates that Scotland should continue to have as close a relationship as possible with the EU, but also says that preparations must be made for a potential hard Brexit.

Mr Greer continued: “We are challenging the UK Government in terms of the damage they are doing to people’s lives and to the wider economy and how we can protect ourselves from the impact of Brexit.

“We must also do more with the powers we already have in Scotland. While we are arguing for immigration to be devolved - so that we can protect European citizens that live here - Scotland already has powers to set up an environmental court.

“There are more powers that should be devolved so we can build a system that works for us.”

Green MSPs also want the Scottish Government to agree a “terms of reference” to ensure any decisions prompted by EU withdrawal are fully accountable to the Scottish Parliament.

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