Scottish MSPs vote to fast track Brexit legislation

A majority of MSPs yesterday voted for Nicola Sturgeon's Brexit Continuity Bill to be rushed through Holyrood as emergency legislation, despite warnings that doing so treats the parliament with disdain.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon

Eighty-six SNP, Labour, Lib Dem and Green MSPs voted for a Scottish Government motion calling for the controversial bill to be fast-tracked through Holyrood in three weeks in March.

They were opposed by 27 Scottish Conservatives, who warned the move would be “dangerous” and prevent proper scrutiny of the UK Withdrawal from the EU (Legal Continuity) (Scotland) Bill.

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The Scottish Government has introduced the Continuity Bill to provide a stop-gap if MSPs fail to give consent to the UK government’s EU Withdrawal Bill.

The Scottish Government has proposed the Continuity Bill amid claims that Brexit will see a Westminster “power grab” of returning Brussels powers that should be devolved.

Scotland’s Brexit minister Michael Russell argued that emergency legislation was required because a tight timetable was being driven by Westminster.

But Scottish Conservative constitution spokesman Prof Adam Tomkins argued that there was no need for emergency legislation because “there is no emergency”.

Professor Tomkins said: “Emergency legislation denies effective parliamentary scrutiny. Today it is the SNP who are treating this parliament with disdain.”He claimed emergency legislation was “unwelcome, unnecessary and dangerous”.

He added: “This is an invitation from the SNP to make bad law.”