Scottish Parliament to reject consent for Boris Johnson's Brexit deal

Mike Russell says the Scottish Government will not back the Brexit deal
Mike Russell says the Scottish Government will not back the Brexit deal
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The Scottish Parliament is poised to reject Boris Johnson's Brexit deal with MSPs likely to be recalled for an emergency meeting this week to vote on the issue.

Constitutional Affairs Secretary Michael Russell has written to the UK Government warning that the SNP regime at Holyrood will not give consent for the Withdrawal Agreement Bill following the deal struck between the Prime Minister and EU leaders.

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A Legislative Consent Memorandum (LCM) has been lodged with the Scottish Parliament raising concerns over the content of the Bill, its implementation and the lack of opportunity for detailed parliamentary scrutiny in either the UK or Scottish Parliaments.

But although a LCM is required under the devolution agreement for legislation which affects Holyrood's responsibilities, in practice the UK Government can press ahead even if MSPs do not approve it.

The Scottish Government wants Holyrood to be recalled on Thursday and Presiding Officer Ken Macintosh will make a decision when the Commons' finalises its proposed timetable for the Bill.

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Mr Russell has described the approach of the UK Government to the passage of the Bill as “irresponsible and disrespectful of the legislatures of these islands and the devolution settlements.”

"The Scottish Government does not support the Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration and will not recommend that the Scottish Parliament consent to the Withdrawal

Agreement Bill," he states.

“It is essential that it should receive scrutiny in all of the UK’s legislatures, that there should be the proper opportunity for civil society to consider it and for citizens to understand its meaning and significance, and for all constitutional conventions, including the Sewel Convention, to be respected during its passage.”

The Liberal Democrats, Greens and Labour are all expected to refuse consent for the motion, although the Tories are likely to back it.

Scottish Conservative constitution spokesman Adam Tomkins said: “The SNP government has calculated which course of action is most likely to drive up grievance and resentment, then acted accordingly.

“This isn’t an administration serious about making Brexit work for the people of Scotland.

“It wants to do the opposite, and is now openly coveting a no-deal scenario because it thinks that will boost support for separation.

“As a government, the SNP’s behaviour has been abhorrent, and is an insult to the people it is meant to be governing.”

A Scottish Parliament spokesman said a final decision on Thursday's recall will be taken after the Commons decides on its timetable for the legislation.

He said: “The Presiding Officer will take a decision on recall once the House of Commons has reached a view.

“The Presiding Officer will inform Business Managers, and then the wider Parliament as soon as possible thereafter, if Parliament is to be recalled on Thursday.”