UK facing constitutional crisis over Brexit bill, SNP Westminster leader says
- Credit: BBC
The UK is facing a constitutional crisis after the three devolved administrations voted against the Brexit bill, the SNP's Westminster leader has said.
Ian Blackford spoke after the Welsh Assembly voted yesterday to reject the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill, following in the footsteps of the Scottish Parliament and the Northern Ireland Assembly.
The SNP MP accused the UK government of using the legislation for a power grab on the parliaments in Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast, criticising the "gross disrespect from Boris Johnson and his Brexit fanboys that are in Number 10 Downing Street".
After the vote in Cardiff yesterday, Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted: "All three devolved parliaments have now rejected the EU Withdrawal Bill - it is unprecedented and momentous.
"For the UK to ignore that reality will simply demonstrate how broken the Westminster system is."
You may also want to watch:
Welsh first minister Mark Drakeford said the Bill was "flawed and doesn't protect the interests of those we serve".
Meanwhile, Blackford said the Scottish Parliament would lose 28 devolved powers covering areas such as farming, fishing and the environment.
- 1 Betty Boothroyd delivers scathing assessment of Boris Johnson's government
- 2 German MEP tells Boris Johnson he 'owes' Britons a Brexit deal as she urged a return to EU trade talks
- 3 House of Lords defies No 10 and votes to heavily defeat Boris Johnson's Brexit bill
- 4 Tory minister branded 'disgraceful' after dismissing child hunger in Britain as something that has 'been going on for years'
- 5 Boris Johnson 'plans to resign' in six months because he can't live on £150k salary
- 6 UK Business leaders describe Brexit call with Boris Johnson and Michael Gove as 'pointless'
- 7 Fool's gold? Nigel Farage wants you to invest your trust in his financial advice service
- 8 Leaked memo exposes government fears over rise in support for Scottish independence
- 9 Ex-civil service chief takes swipe at Dominic Cummings while criticising government's Covid-19 response
- 10 PMQs Review: The one where it was grim up north
He raised fears this could be just the first such attack on devolution from Westminster.
The Sewel Convention, a key feature of the UK's political arrangements, sets out that the UK parliament will "not normally" legislate on devolved policy areas without the consent of the administrations.
Blackford, speaking on BBC Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland programme, said: "If you can argue, as the government seems to have done in this case, that the situation is not normal, then you can always say the situation is not normal.
"What is to stop you turning around and taking powers back from the Scottish Parliament at another time?"
While none of the devolved institutions have granted permission for Westminster to go ahead with the legislation, their actions will not stop the Withdrawal Bill from passing through Westminster.
Blackford added: "There's 28 devolved powers that we're going to be losing as a consequence of this. But really it is about this issue of respect.
"What we've got here is the government acting with a big stick, that is effectively telling not just Holyrood but Cardiff and Belfast as well 'this is what is going to happen and you don't have a say in this'.
"We're supposed to have a family of nations and Scotland's place in the United Kingdom is supposed to be respected.
"None of that is happening and I think that is why you have got legitimate concerns."
He added: "The Queen is going to be asked to give Royal Assent to this Act and it is an Act that doesn't have the support of three of the four parliaments in the United Kingdom.
"That is unprecedented and I would suggest it is in effect a constitutional crisis.
"The prime minister has got to change his position, he's got to respect the first ministers in all the devolved administrations."
Become a Supporter
The New European is proud of its journalism and we hope you are proud of it too. We believe our voice is important - both in representing the pro-EU perspective and also to help rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.