Labour and Lib Dems accused of being 'midwives of independence' over Brexit

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Labour and the Liberal Democrats have been accused of acting as the “midwives” for the breakup of the UK after they voted with the SNP to reject legislative consent for crucial Brexit legislation in the Scottish Parliament.

Tuesday’s vote at Holyrood set in motion an unprecedented constitutional crisis, with Theresa May confirming to MPs that the UK Government would push ahead with the EU Withdrawal Bill despite the ongoing row over its impact on devolution.

It would be the first time the UK Government has ignored the will of the Scottish Parliament when legislating on devolved matters since its creation in 1999.

Challenged by SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford at Prime Minister’s Questions, Mrs May said the Withdrawal Bill “respects devolution and lets us maintain the integrity of our own common market”.

READ MORE: Rejected: Holyrood votes to refuse consent for Brexit Bill
“That is a reasonable and sensible way forward,” the Prime Minister said.

“The Welsh Government and now the Welsh Assembly, including Labour and Liberal Democrat Members of the Welsh Assembly, agree with that.

“I think it is right that we go ahead with measures that not only respect devolution, but ensure we maintain the integrity of our common market.”

Mr Blackford was heckled by Conservative MPs, who shouted “shame” as he set out that the Scottish Parliament had refused is consent by 93 votes to 30.

The SNP MP warned Mrs May not to "veto the democratic wishes of the Scottish Parliament" and claimed "the Conservatives are isolated and out of touch with the people of Scotland”.

"If this Government forces through the legislation without the consent of the Scottish Parliament, the Prime Minister will be doing so in the full knowledge that they're breaking the 20-year-old devolution settlement,” Mr Blackford added.

Later, Aberdeen South MP Ross Thomson claimed that “Scottish Labour and Scottish Liberal Democrats have become the midwives for the Scottish National party’s crusade to tear apart the Union, leaving only the Scottish Conservatives as the party that wants to get on and make a success of Brexit”.

Both the Scottish and UK Governments claim the door is still open to a deal over 24 devolved powers returning from Brussels, which Whitehall says must be ‘frozen’ at Westminster for up to seven years to protect internal trade after Brexit.

Nicola Sturgeon has suggested the Scottish Parliament vote could be “overturned” if a deal is reached.

However, with the EU Withdrawal Bill set to get final approval in the House of Lords on Wednesday before a final reading in the Commons in the coming weeks, Scottish Parliament approval is highly unlikely.

READ MORE: Theresa May promises Brexit White Paper to break customs deadlock