REPEAL BILL: “WESTMINSTER POWER GRAB LAID BARE”- DAVID MUNDELL DEFENDING THE INDEFENSIBLE
The SNP has described the European Union (EU) Withdrawal Bill as a “Westminster power grab laid bare”, as the party tabled a reasoned amendment that will seek to oppose the legislation. Following repeated promises before and after the referendum that new powers would come to the Scottish Parliament, the Bill as introduced commits to no new powers being devolved and effectively means that the Scottish Parliament cannot legislate on repatriated laws in EU areas without the permission of the UK Government. The decision to bring forward the Bill without any debate showed that Theresa May’s government was yet again in hiding at the first sign of parliamentary scrutiny. Patricia Gibson MP said: “The Bill does nothing to protect the interests of Scotland and the other devolved administrations and is final confirmation of a Westminster power grab. “Before the EU referendum, the Leave campaign repeatedly said that significant new powers would automatically come to the Scottish Parliament. Secretary of State for Scotland David Mundell MP and others have repeatedly assured us since the vote that more powers will be coming to the Scottish Parliament. So where are they? “Once again, Mr Mundell has shown himself to be the Cabinet’s man in Scotland, rather than Scotland’s man in the Cabinet. “Mr Mundell’s description of the bill as a powers ‘bonanza’ is frankly ludicrous. This is a Westminster power grab laid bare, and his attempts to defend the indefensible do him no credit. “All of us – whether we voted Leave or Remain – want Brexit to be a success and that is why the SNP will continue to push for the Bill to be amended to ensure it properly accounts for Scotland’s distinct interests as the UK leaves the EU. “The Single Market is absolutely vital to Scotland’s economy, jobs and our living standards and the UK Government must change course from the extreme Brexit that it is pursuing. “Until the UK Government meaningfully engages with the devolved administrations and publishes a detailed economic analysis of the impact that leaving the single market or a no deal scenario will have, then the SNP has no choice but to oppose a second reading of the Bill in order to get answers from a government that has sought to evade scrutiny at every opportunity.” The SNP amendment reads – That this House declines to give a Second Reading to the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill because it contains no commitment to the transfer of devolved competencies coming back from the European Union to the devolved administrations; fails to provide for a unilateral guarantee on the rights of EU nationals in the UK and is not accompanied by any economic analysis by the Government of the full implications of withdrawal from the single market.