Scottish Government seek consent of Holyrood as Scots fear Supreme Court ruling has killed devolution
FIRST MINISTER Nicola Sturgeon has responded to the Supreme Court ruling on the role of devolved institutions in Article 50 by announcing that her government will bring forward a legislative consent motion to the Scottish Parliament.
The announcement, which will allow the parliament to register a protest against UK Government dealings on Brexit, came shortly after the ruling which said that the UK parliament and government were not obliged to gain the consent of any devolved parliament.
Pro-EU parties and politicians in Scotland have responded to the judgment by calling into question the validity of the current devolution settlement, with some stating the arrangement as an “illusion which is no more.”
“The claims about Scotland being an equal partner are being exposed as nothing more than empty rhetoric.” Nicola Sturgeon
In a statement made after the ruling, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “It is becoming clearer by the day that Scotland’s voice is simply not being heard or listened to within the UK.
“The claims about Scotland being an equal partner are being exposed as nothing more than empty rhetoric and the very foundations of the devolution settlement are being shown to be worthless.”
Christian Allard, a French Scot, who served as an MSP for the SNP between 2013 and 2016, said: “Devolution is an illusion, devolution is no more. And the ruling is proving that devolution is just an illusion. Devolution died today.
“No surprise, just a proof that power devolved is power retained, the devolution settlement is more than unsettled, devolution is no more.” The former MSP went on to state that “democracy was dead” in a series of tweets on social media.
“It is hard to see any other option than putting the choice back in the hands of voters in Scotland, giving people the choice of an independent future in Europe.” Patrick Harvie
The Scottish Greens responded to the news with a call for independence.
Co-convener Patrick Harvie MSP said: “By recognising that Brexit will alter the powers of the Scottish Parliament but deciding that MSPs will have no say, the Supreme Court has made it clear today that Scotland is not an equal partner in the UK.
“It is hard to see any other option than putting the choice back in the hands of voters in Scotland, giving people the choice of an independent future in Europe, and rejecting the angry and isolated Britain the Tories are planning.”
“Scotland isn’t a federal state, it’s not a nation state, it’s a devolved administration in a unitary nation state. I think everyone and their dog knew this.” Robin McAlpine
Other commentators pointed to the ruling as the moment the devolution settlement failed to accommodate the democratic will of Scotland.
Robin McAlpine, Common Weal think tank director said: “This finding was always going to be the result. Scotland isn’t a federal state, it’s not a nation state, it’s a devolved administration in a unitary nation state. I think everyone and their dog knew this.
“We have only three options – we can celebrate being a minor part of the ‘Great Britain’ project, we can resign ourselves to regional status and talk about a tweak here or there in devolution, or we can seek to be an independent country. All three are legitimate, but after today we can’t keep pretending there’s some kind of fourth option.”
The Scottish Conservatives chose the moment to attack the SNP but failed to address the issue of the legislative competence of Holyrood.
Ruth Davidson, leader of the Scottish Conservatives said: “The SNP tried to use this hearing to hold the rest of the UK to ransom. It has comprehensively failed to do so.”
Since the vote to leave the EU, Davidson has been under fire from opponents who point to her campaign slogan during the 2014 referendum that the best way to keep Scotland in the EU was to vote No. This, coupled with her softened support for the single market in line with the UK Conservative party has, opened her and her party up for attack from the Scottish Government, Scottish Greens and Scottish Labour.
“Unity cannot be achieved by a politics that sees one-half of the country constantly facing off against the other.” Kezia Dugdale
Commenting on the Supreme Court’s Article 50 ruling, Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale reiterated her party’s stance of being the “moderate option” between an independence vote from the Scottish Government and Hard Brexit supported by the Scottish Conservatives.
She said: “We will continue to work with the Scottish Government to get the best deal for Scotland within the UK.
“But both the SNP and the Conservatives are casting about for an expedient political position rather than working in the national interest. Unity cannot be achieved by a politics that sees one-half of the country constantly facing off against the other.”
The SNP’s legislative consent motion can register a protest against UK Government decisions, but the Supreme Court ruling means that Scotland’s ability to reject Westminster legislation which impacts the functions of the Scottish parliament is void.
Sturgeon has said repeatedly that a second vote on Scottish independence has been made “highly likely” by brexit.
Picture courtesy of First Minister of Scotland
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