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Thursday, April 18, 2024

Retained EU Law Bill Risk to Devolution

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Scottish Parliament votes to withhold consent for amendments to Bill.

The UK Government is not respecting the Scottish Parliament and is undermining devolution, according to Constitution Secretary Angus Robertson.

In a debate in the Scottish Parliament on the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill, Mr Robertson highlighted Scottish Ministers were given less than eight working hours to consider amendments to a complex, far-reaching bill that will have major implications for welfare protections, environmental and food standards in Scotland, alongside the devolution settlement.

Mr Robertson said the fact the UK Government is pressing ahead with the amended Bill without properly seeking the agreement of the Scottish Government or Parliament demonstrates a willingness to pass laws in devolved policy areas without consent – against the principles of devolution.

Following the debate MSPs again voted to withhold the Scottish Parliament’s consent to the Bill.

Constitution Secretary Angus Robertson said:

“This continues an alarming pattern where the UK Government asks the Scottish Government and MSPs for permission to pass laws in devolved policy areas with no intention of acting on, or even listening to, the views of the Scottish Parliament.

“It is a further example of UK Ministers’ growing control over Scotland and demonstrates the UK Government will legislate in devolved matters whenever it wants.

“In this instance I received a letter from the UK Government on the afternoon of Friday 19 May seeking consent.

“Less than eight working hours later, on Monday 22 May, the Lords Bill Minister, Lord Callanan, said that the UK Government intended to proceed with the Bill without the consent of the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Senedd.

“Clearly, any acknowledgement of due parliamentary process in respect of devolution is only for show.

“As well as the risk to devolution, the risks of divergence from the high standards the people – and businesses – of Scotland experienced and benefitted from when the UK was an EU member state, are a key concern and therefore this reckless bill should be withdrawn.”

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