Sturgeon tells May Scotgov can’t back EU Withdrawal Bill in current form
Nicola Sturgeon has just met with Theresa May at 10 Downing Street to discuss the EU Withdrawal Bill.
After the meeting, she advised that the Scottish Parliament won’t accept the bill in its current form.
I made very clear, as the Scottish government has done consistently, that the withdrawal bill as it stands would not be acceptable and we would not be able to recommend approval of that. That remains the position, but hopefully having had the opportunity to air the concerns that we have in more detail, we will be able to see progress in the weeks to come.
While we didn’t reach agreement, I think we developed a better understanding of each others’ positions. I made clear that the Scottish government wants to find agreement on the Withdrawal Bill. We oppose Brexit but we understand withdrawal legislation is necessary, so we want to find agreement.
But I also made clear what our bottom lines are on that Bill. Discussions will continue and hopefully we can reach some points of agreement in the weeks to come.
The main sticking point is that post-Brexit, the bill moves powers to Westminster that should default to Holyrood.
The UK government is seeking the consent of Holyrood for the bill. Although, as we have explained before, the consent of the Scottish parliament isn’t actually necessary. If consent is not given then the UK government could proceed regardless as the UK parliament holds ultimate sovereignty.
However, proceeding without consent would ignite a constitutional crisis that the UK government will want to avoid.
We will see in the next week or so if amendments can be made to the bill which could placate the Scottish government. The UK government is extremely weak so there is a good chance that the Scottish Government might get the consessions they are demanding.
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