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Bremain in Spain Comments on Scottish Parliament Vote

17 May 2018
by eub2 -- last modified 17 May 2018

Bremain in Spain, a group campaigning for the rights of British citizens in Spain and the EU, reacts to the Scottish Parliament's rejection of the EU (Withdrawal) Bill.


The devolved Edinburgh parliament voted by 93 votes to 30 to deny consent for the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, currently going through Westminster, which proposes an end to political, financial and legal ties with the EU.

While the Scottish Parliament has no veto over the Bill, its refusal to give consent begins an unprecedented constitutional crisis between Edinburgh and London and further complicates Prime Minister Theresa May's plans for Brexit.

Scotland has lawmaking jurisdiction over a range of domestic issues, such as farming and fishing, although these have been controlled by Europe in recent decades. A 2017 proposal by the UK government for devolved powers to be returned to it for a limited time - should Britain leave the EU - was rejected by the Scottish government.

Holyrood firmly rejected the UK government's EU withdrawal on Tuesday after Scottish Labour, the Scottish Liberal Democrats and the Scottish Greens backed First Minister Nicola Sturgeon's opposition to the proposals on post-Brexit power-sharing.

While the vote is not legally binding, it will force Mrs May to consider imposing her plans on Scotland. This would be an unprecedented move and may fuel further demands for a second Scottish independence referendum.

Alastair Stewart, assistant press officer for Bremain in Spain and former press officer at the Scottish Parliament, comments: "This is nothing less than a constitutional crisis. In 20 years of devolution, there has never been such a moment of profound departure between the Scottish and UK parliaments."

"Time and time again, the SNP has taken the place of Labour as the UK's official opposition. It is the only party tackling Brexit head-on. It has formed a coalition of consensus at the Scottish Parliament that sees Brexit as the moral, political and economic fallacy that it is."

"What people forget is that devolution is a fragile balance that Theresa May is brazenly ignoring. Her predecessor gambled against Scottish independence but lost Europe. If Mrs May continues as she is, she could very well bulldoze through Brexit at the cost of the United Kingdom itself."

Sue Wilson, Chair of Bremain in Spain, said: "With the full backing of all parties except the Conservatives, the Scottish Parliament has refused consent for May's EU Withdrawal Bill with an outright majority. In the 20 years of the devolution settlement, this action is unprecedented. Both sides now seem to be heading for a stand-off in the Supreme Court."

She concludes: "With the battle coming to a head amid accusations of a power-grab by the Conservative government, I can only admire Nicola Sturgeon for sticking to her guns. Scotland is fortunate to have a passionate head-of-state who honestly represents the values and views of her electorate. We'd all be in a very different place if only Theresa May behaved in the same way."

Bremain in Spain is a group campaigning for the UK to remain in the European Union and to protect the rights of British migrants living and working in Spain. Run by a team of volunteers and chaired by Sue Wilson - a resident of the Valencian Community - the group advocates a tolerant and outward-looking society. It believes this is best achieved by the UK remaining a member of the EU. Bremain in Spain is part of the British in Europe coalition of 10 UK citizens' groups across the EU. It is also affiliated to Britain for Europe and European Movement.

Bremain in Spain
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