Scottish Parliament Votes To Refuse Consent For Britain's Brexit Bill

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A motion by the SNP administration in Edinburgh, which clearly states that the Scottish Parliament "does not consent" to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill, was approved by 93 votes to 30 on Tuesday.

Scottish Government ministers fear the legislation, as it now stands, could see Holyrood's powers constrained for up to seven years after the United Kingdom quits the European Union and are demanding changes before they will give it the go ahead.

If UK Prime Minister Theresa May continues to insist on the necessity to pass the withdrawal bill in its current form, it will become the first time in history when the British government adopts a law against the will of Scotland, which may deepen the rift between them.

Sturgeon, who took the helm of the Scottish National Party after Scots voted to reject independence in a September 2014 referendum, said the idea was far from dead.

The Welsh government agreed to give its consent to the Bill last month but Nicola Sturgeon's government at Holyrood has rejected what it characterises as a unilateral power grab.

Scottish ministers contend that the devolved parliaments should have to give express consent for changes to these frameworks, while the United Kingdom side argues that this would effectively give MSPs the power of veto over frameworks extending right across the country.

But the Tories hit out, claiming it was "patently obvious that Nicola Sturgeon wants a political crisis to provide cover for her independence drive".

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The SNP, Labour, the Greens and the Liberal Democrats all voted against consent, with only the Scottish Conservatives arguing the changes that have already been made to the bill go far enough to protect devolution.

The Scottish government says it has "been entirely consistent in public and in private". 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 Tories called on Labour and the Liberal Democrats to join with them in supporting the legislation rather than siding with the SNP.

"The UK government can not ignore the reality of devolution or try to drown out what this parliament says", he said.

"The danger if I am being less optimistic, or pessimistic, is that the whole process crashes before that can emerge because time is running out and the clock is ticking", she said.

"The Scottish Parliament has now said overwhelmingly that this attempt to undermine devolution is unacceptable". He said the government would press ahead with the Bill but suggested it would be open to amending it to reflect Scottish concerns. "It would be even more outrageous if, having seen Holyrood specifically refuse consent to this Bill, the Tories imposed it on Scotland against our will", she said.

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