Holyrood refuses consent for Westminster Brexit bill

Holyrood is expected to reject the EU Withdrawal Bill as it stands in a vote this week

Holyrood is expected to reject the EU Withdrawal Bill as it stands in a vote this week

The vote is not legally binding but it will force the prime minister to make a high-risk decision to impose those power-sharing plans on Scotland or make further concessions to the Scottish government to avoid a crisis.

The Edinburgh assembly voted by 93 votes to 30 to deny consent for the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, which is now going through the national parliament in London and is supposed to provide clarity on the legal position as Britain severs ties with the bloc.

The only party to vote against the motion was the Conservatives, which accused the SNP of trying to "ramp up a grievance agenda" to increase support for another independence referendum. SNP member of the Scottish parliament (MSP) Christina McKelvie said on Tuesday that clause 11 would allow Ms May's government to start dismantling the devolution framework on which the Scottish parliament is based.

"That is why I must recommend the Scottish Parliament votes against accepting the bill in its current form". Welsh finance secretary Mark Drakeford said "this is a deal we can work with which has required compromise on both sides", and the Welsh Assembly is expected to approve the agreement today.

The Scottish government has urged the Parliament in Edinburgh to refuse "legislative consent" for the highly contested EU (Withdrawal) Bill now being debated by lawmakers in London.

European Union negotiators have rejected both options and Conservative Brexiteers have criticised the prime minister's favoured option of a customs partnership as unworkable and inconsistent with regaining full sovereignty from Brussels. "I just don't see how that can be characterised as a power grab".

The current disagreements between the United Kingdom government and Scotland threaten to put Britain on the verge of a constitutional crisis.

It is the first time the devolved Parliament has withdrawn its stamp of approval for legislation coming from Westminster.

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard has been calling for cross party talks to resolve the dispute.

The Scottish Parliament passed its own version of Brexit legislation, called the Continuity Bill, in March by a margin of 95 to 32 to ensure it retains control of areas that are now devolved after Britain formally leaves the EU.

"We are likely to be joined by Labour and the Liberals and the Greens in the Scottish Parliament so it will only be the Conservatives that vote to go ahead", she said. "But this is about protecting devolution which the people of Scotland voted for overwhelmingly, and there is no mandate to undermine that".

Theresa May's government has promised that the "vast majority" of the 158 areas where policy in devolved policy areas is decided in Brussels will immediately return to the devolved parliaments after Brexit.

He added the Tories' "shambolic handling" of matters meant the issue could be resolved in the Supreme Court - where judges will rule if the Scottish Government's alternative Continuity Bill falls within Holyrood's legislative competence.