Call for 'respect' as MSPs vote down Brexit bill

MSPs voted against the EU Withdrawal Bill

Westminster is being called on this morning to 'respect the will of Parliament' after Holyrood voted down its Brexit legislation.

The Scottish Government is urging their UK counterparts to amend the EU Withdrawal Bill to reflect the fact MSPs voted 93 to 30 against it.

But Westminster is insisting it is 'sovereign', and can continue to leave the EU without Scotland's consent.

Michael Russell, the minister for UK negotiations on Scotland’s place in Europe, said: "In line with the clear majority of people in Scotland, we don’t want to leave the EU and we are still working to find a way to secure as much as we can from our present relationship. But we accept that legal preparation for Brexit is required.

"However, the UK Government wants to take a power to restrict the competence of this Parliament.  

"And it wants to be able to exercise this power even in the face of an explicit decision by this Parliament that it should not.

"The Scottish Parliament has now said overwhelmingly that this attempt to undermine devolution is unacceptable.

"The UK Government cannot ignore the reality of devolution or try to drown out what this Parliament says. 

"They cannot pretend that no motion has been passed.

"If they now move to force on this Parliament an arrangement for restricting devolution that does not have Parliament’s consent they will do so in the full knowledge that they are breaking the twenty year old devolution settlement and operating out with the agreed constitution.

"The solution, as this Parliament has agreed, is straightforward. 

"That is for the UK Government to remove the clause that fundamentally undermines devolution and to proceed on the basis of agreement.

"The UK Government must respect the will of the Parliament."

'Deeply regrettable'

Scottish Conservative constitution spokesman, Adam Tomkins, said: "A deal is there to be done on Brexit. 

"It is deeply regrettable that the SNP has refused to take it.

"Scottish Labour's position simply doesn't make sense; in Wales, the Labour administration has today backed this deal yet, here in Scotland, Richard Leonard is content to do the SNP's bidding.

"As for the Lib Dems, they admitted today that they weren't even voting on the Brexit withdrawal deal, but because they don't back the EU referendum result.

"It's patently obvious that Nicola Sturgeon wants a political crisis to provide cover for her independence drive.

"We will stand up for anyone - Conservative, Labour or Lib Dem - who wants to see the SNP challenged and taken on.

"The SNP has taken the wrong path today. It's deeply disappointing that the leaders of Labour and the Lib Dems have helped them do it."

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