SNP brands royal assent for Brexit bill a ‘constitutional crisis’

PUBLISHED: 15:38 23 January 2020 | UPDATED: 15:44 23 January 2020

Queen Elizabeth II reading the Queen's Speech in the House of Lords. Photograph: Carl Court/PA.

Queen Elizabeth II reading the Queen's Speech in the House of Lords. Photograph: Carl Court/PA.

PA Archive/PA Images

The SNP have reacted to the news that Boris Johnson’s Brexit bill has received royal assent as a ‘constitutional crisis’.

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Some MPs cheered as deputy speaker Nigel Evans announced the news, but the SNP reacted with fury that governments in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales had all rejected the bill.

The Westminster leader Ian Blackford said: "I am duty bound to signify our deep regret.

"Something quite momentous has taken place with this royal assent. This is absolutely unprecedented, and I must say to the House, that this is a constitutional crisis.

"We are faced with a situation which is completely unprecedented when the government in Edinburgh, in Belfast and in Cardiff has not given consent to this Act of Parliament, and that completely contravenes the devolution settlement that made it clear that the consent of the devolved administrations had to be given in Bills of Parliament that become Acts of Parliament that involve the devolved administrations.

"I fully respect that those who voted for the Conservative Party in England have got what they voted for, but the fact remains that the people of Scotland were told in 2014 that if we stayed in the UK our rights as EU citizens would be respected.

"And moreover, we were told that we were to lead the United Kingdom, that this was a family of nations, our rights would be respected.

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"And we find ourselves here today, that our parliament has been ignored, our government has been ignored and against the expressed wishes of the people of Scotland that voted in the referendum and reaffirmed the right of the people of Scotland to determine their own destiny, that that has been ignored.

"But crucially, in a debate that took place in this House in July 2017, the concept of the rights of the people of Scotland, the claim of right, that that democratic right, that that democratic right that sovereignty rests with the people and not with this place, was reaffirmed.

"So I'm asking your (deputy speaker's) guidance as to what I have to do to make sure that that mandate that the Scottish government has from the people of Scotland to have an independence referendum on our future, to make sure that Scotland has that right, to be a European country, to be an independent country.

"And there's a very clear message, I must say Mr Speaker, that has been delivered from this House - that the rights of the people of Scotland are to be shut down and we will have no part of it."

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