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UK Supreme Court ruling

Published: 24 Jan 2017 17:36

Consent of the Scottish Parliament must be sought on Brexit

A statement about the impact of the UK Supreme Court (UKSC) ruling will be made to Parliament tomorrow (Wednesday).

Minister for UK Negotiations on Scotland’s Place in Europe Michael Russell confirmed that he would make the statement in the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling that the UK government must seek the consent of the Westminster Parliament ahead of triggering Article 50.

The judgment said leaving the EU would alter the powers of the Scottish Parliament.

The UKSC also said the Sewel Convention, by which the Westminster Parliament does not normally legislate in devolved areas without the consent of Holyrood, was a political mechanism and not a matter for the courts to enforce.

Speaking after meeting the Standing Council on Europe earlier this morning, Mr Russell said:

“The Supreme Court made it clear that the UK Government cannot take us out of the European Union without at least a vote of the Westminster Parliament.

“Triggering Article 50 will have profound effects on devolved matters and on the powers of the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish Government.

“The UK Government, in its submission to the court, went out of its way to emphasise that the Sewel Convention could not be enforced by the courts.

“But it has never sought to change the powers of the Parliament or the Scottish Government without the consent of the Scottish Parliament.

“It must not renege on that constitutional requirement.

“A hard Brexit would be disastrous for Scotland – and it is clear that an overwhelming majority across Scotland and in the Scottish Parliament are opposed to the UK Government’s plans.

“The Prime Minister has made numerous statements and commitments there would be a UK approach to Brexit. We published our proposals to protect Scotland’s interests in Europe at the end of last year and we have yet to have any detailed response, or any indication of whether or how the UK Government intends to take them forward as part of its forthcoming negotiations. 

“Time is running out for the UK Government to show how it intends to respect Scotland’s interests. If it does not, the Scottish people will face a choice as to whether we continue down the damaging path of a hard Brexit, or choose a better way for Scotland.”