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14/10/19 13:10

Queen’s Speech: Scotland’s voice must be heard on Brexit

Scottish Government responds to Bills outlined by UK Government.

There must be early and close inter-governmental engagement on the impact on Scotland of Bills in the Queen’s Speech, the Scottish Government has said.

However, until there is more assurance that the UK Government respects the views of the Scottish Parliament, the Scottish Government will not bring forward any parliamentary consent motions for provisions related to Brexit.

This position has been taken as the UK Government has made it clear that it is prepared to ignore the views of the Scottish Parliament on provisions or Bills related to exiting the EU - even though Holyrood’s consent is required under the rules of our current system of government.

The UK Parliament does not normally legislate with regard to devolved matters in Scotland without the consent of the Scottish Parliament, which is expressed through Legislative Consent Motions (LCM).

Commenting on today’s Queen’s Speech, Constitutional Relations Secretary Michael Russell said the Scottish Government will support necessary consent for UK Government Bills where common ground can be found.

There are Bills in the Queen’s Speech which the Scottish Government can support, for example the Domestic Abuse Bill which adds to robust measures already in place in Scotland.

Mr Russell said:

“Throughout the Brexit process, the UK Government has paid little regard to the views of either the Scottish Parliament or the Scottish people.

“Brexit remains a crisis: there is no concluded Withdrawal Agreement and the UK Government is refusing to rule out a disastrous ‘no deal’ Brexit.

“In these circumstances, the UK Government cannot maintain that their plan is to pass a Withdrawal Agreement Bill – should one be approved – before 31st October.

“If the UK Government attempts to force such important legislation through in the short time available, it will show a disregard for the scrutiny functions of both the UK Parliament and Scottish Parliament.

“With regard to other Bills, it remains vital that the Scottish Parliament scrutinise any Brexit-related provisions.

“Therefore, the Scottish Government will continue to lodge legislative consent memorandums setting out its views on the substance of any such provision.

“But until we can be assured that the decisions of the Scottish Parliament will be respected, we will not lodge any legislative consent motions on Brexit-related provisions, except in the most exceptional of circumstances.”

 

Background

The Queen's Speech 2019: www.gov.uk/government/speeches/queens-speech-2019

In accordance with the Scotland Act 1998, the UK Parliament does not normally legislate with regard to devolved matters in Scotland without the consent of the Scottish Parliament.

The formal consent of the Scottish Parliament is required in relation to all proposals for Westminster primary legislation with regard to devolved matters.

The UK Bills which the Scottish Government currently expect may give rise to Legislative Consent Motions (LCM) in the Scottish Parliament are:

Agriculture Bill

Animal Welfare Bill

Air Traffic Management and Unmanned Aircraft Bill

Birmingham Commonwealth Games Bill

Domestic Abuse Bill

Environment Bill

European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill

Fisheries Bill

Immigration and Social Co-Ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill

Sentencing (Pre-Consolidation Amendments) Bill

Trade Bill

It is possible that further opportunities to legislate for Scotland by means of Legislative Consent Motion may occur in connection with other UK Bills, including Private Members’ Bills.

Any additional proposals of this kind, together with any relevant amendments to the UK Government Bills listed above, will be drawn to the attention of the Parliament as they arise, in line with the requirements of Standing Orders.