Scottish Tories could support SNP Brexit amendments

The Scottish Conservatives could support SNP amendments to the UK Government's flagship Brexit legislation, the party's deputy leader has indicated.

Scottish Conservatives could support SNP with Brexit legislation amendments. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Jackson Carlaw and Tory constitution spokesman Adam Tomkins will meet the Brexit minister Michael Russell this week to discuss Scottish Government concerns over the EU (Withdrawal) Bill.

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The legislation, designed to transpose EU law into British law, will see EU responsibilities in devolved areas initially transferred to Westminster.

The UK Government said this will allow common frameworks to be created ahead of further devolution.

But the SNP administration has said this amounts to a “power-grab”.

Scottish ministers say they cannot recommend that the Scottish Parliament gives its backing to the Bill in its current form.

The Scottish and Welsh governments intend forward amendments to the legislation, Mr Russell has said.

Speaking on the Sunday Politics Scotland programme on the BBC, Mr Carlaw said: “We don’t believe it’s the design nor the desire to have this so-called power grab they visualise, but then we want to work to see if there are amendments they are proposing which we can support.

“And whether or not together we can actually find a way to ensure that the legislative consent motion is something the Scottish Government feel able to support.”

The meeting follows a debate at Holyrood last week in which Mr Russell insisted the Bill as it stands would ‘’alter permanently the fundamental principle of devolution’’.

“I now understand I think, I want to get just a little but more understanding still, as to why he (Mr Russell) believes that that is the case,” Mr Carlaw said.

“It has never been the intention, I have never been in any doubt about that, and I have never heard any UK minister who has ever suggested that it is as they have characterised it.

“But if that is how they feel and they have amendments that they want to bring forward with the Welsh government, and we may have Conservative amendments that we want to propose ourselves actually, to ensure that what we have then is a Bill that’s going to best take matters forward.”