In my previous post, I wrote about potential House of Lords amendments to the EU(Withdrawal) Bill.
I mentioned that Lord Hope of Craighead was going to table changes that might make the bIll less of a power grab. Changes that could make it acceptable to the Scottish Government by giving Holyrood consent over rightfully devolved powers that Westminster is set to temporarily take from Scotland.
Well, you wouldn’t know by consuming the mainstream media but the amendments have been published.
The ones that could help Holyrood are as follows. Any laws passed by Westminster with regards to powers that should have returned to Scotland should;
- explicitly require consent of the Scottish Parliament
- or require consent of a supermajority of governments represented in the Joint Ministerial Council
- or replace unilateral powers of UK Ministers with the Order in Council procedure, the latter of which requires explicit consent of various particular parliaments
- or change some Types (per Schedule 7 of the Scotland Act 1998) of Order in Council to Type A from Type C; the Orders then require the consent of the Scottish Parliament and not just the Westminster Houses.
The House of Lords is set to debate these changes today so I will do an update later in the week to look at how they voted.
In the previous blog, I did question whether Scottish Labour would capitulate and agree to the bill in its current form, just as Welsh Labour folded this week.
Well, credit where credit is due. Richard Leonard told the Commons Select Committee that Labour would not accept the bill unless it was altered. In fact, it was heartening to see all of the Scottish Parties, except for the Tories, sticking up for devolution.
Incidentally, in the Lords today, arch-Tory Lord Callahan also tabled amendments to the bill doubling down on the power grab. I hope that many Scots who voted for that party feel betrayed as all they do is work against Scotland’s interests.
It should be interesting to see how things pan out in the next few days. These amendments may come to nothing but an agreement could still be reached via inter-governmental talks instead. I will keep you posted on developments.
Whatever happens this week, we shouldn’t lose the fact that regardless of any positive developments, Scotland is still being drawn into a damaging Brexit against its will.