Will the Scottish Tories save us from the Brexit power grab?
Another day on Thursday, and another vote in the House of Commons, in which Scottish Tories acted to prevent Scotland gaining control over repatriated EU Powers.
Powers that should default to Scotland automatically but which are, due to the EU(Withdrawal) Bill, being grabbed by Westminster.
House of Commons votes against Amendment 167 to the #EUWithdrawalBill by 296 to 316.
This amendment would have extended the power of Scottish and Welsh ministers to make regulations to amending directly applicable EU law incorporated into UK law pic.twitter.com/tJm9XtSb76
— UK House of Commons (@HouseofCommons) December 6, 2017
This is the third blog we have published about the UK government doubling down on its power grab in weeks. It is an important story that will have a big impact on Scotland but it is barely reported in the mainstream media.
The Scottish Tory line is that they continue to vote against these amendments to the bill because they plan to change the bill at a later stage. Although, it has to be noted that they are extremely vague as to what they actually plan to change.
On Thursday, the Scottish Secretary, David Mundell, announced that the EU(Withdrawall) Bill will be amended at some point in the legislative process.
It’s going to be amended not at the behest of the incoherent approach put forward by the Labour opposition or the nationalist approach put forward by the SNP.
It’s going to amended because Scottish Conservatives have come forward with practical amendments to the bill.
I’m willing to keep a sceptical but open mind on that promise.
I firmly expect any changes made will be as minimal as the Tories are able to get away with. Power devolved is power retained, after all. We will just have to wait and see but I would be very surprised if the changes come close to those that they have voted against at Westminster over the last few weeks.
One thing that is jarring about Mundell’s statement is this idea that the changes are only possible due to the intervention of the Scottish Tories.
This is the same game that the UK government played with regards to the Police Scotland VAT fiasco. Despite the Scottish Government making numerous attempts to persuade the UK government to drop the VAT charges on Police Scotland, when it did eventually happen, it was used as a PR campaign for the handful of Scottish Tory MPs.
Essentially, the message the Tories are sending out is that on Scottish issues they are not going to listen to the political will of the majority of Scotland as expressed through the ballot box. They will only work for themselves.
Even though they could easily meet the wishes of the Scottish people they will try to resist. Any positive moves that are forced upon them out of political expediency, they will credit to their own side.
Credit is given to a gaggle of Scottish Tories who have thus far done nothing to convince me that they have Scotland’s best interests at heart.
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