Published: Thu, June 14, 2018
Global Media | By Garry Long

SNP pledges more action over Brexit bill

SNP pledges more action over Brexit bill

At Prime Minister's Questions on 13 June, Ian Blackford insisted repeatedly that this was a "power grab". "Scotland can not be continued to be disrespected by Westminster".

She blasted the "farcical" Parliament stating: "The people of Scotland were not able to have their voice heard last night in the European Union withdrawal debate".

May replied that the Bill ensured a "significant increase in decision-making powers" for Holyrood and that says 80 new powers will "flow direct to Holyrood".

"So we won't be power grabbing, we won't be overriding the Scottish Parliament, we will be seeking their consent on all of the matters that this bill relates to". That is a democratic outrage.

"Under the circumstances, and given the disrespect shown, I've got no option but to now demand that this house sits in private".

The unprecedented event brought PMQs to a temporary halt as Mr Bercow refused his demands.

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Bercow said: "I'm not hearing that at this time and I'm not obliged to do so is my clear understanding...it might be for the convenience of the house for the matter to be addressed at the conclusion of the session..."

He was followed by some 30 of his SNP members.

Speaking to the BBC's Good Morning Scotland programme, Mr Blackford said his party at Westminster and Scottish government in Edinburgh would mount a "very robust defence of our parliamentary democracy, our parliamentary sovereignty and the rights of the Scottish people". Such a complex endeavour is bound to complicate the agenda of Prime Minister Theresa May as she tries to negotiate Brexit. But they need to understand that a line has now been crossed - the Conservatives are enacting legislation without the support of the Scottish Parliament.

The speaker of the house John Bercow MP appeared flustered and unprepared for the request, at first responding that it couldn't be heard, then stating that it could be, and finally deciding that it would only be heard at the end of Prime Minister's Questions. My mixed sequence of advice is that is better for the vote to be conducted at the conclusion of questions to the prime minister... Scottish Tories told me to sit down. "It is not acceptable".

Just 19 minutes were allocated for debate at Westminster on issues related to devolution during the EU Withdrawal Bill debate last night - 19 minutes during which not one Scottish MP was given the opportunity to speak, the entire time was hogged by cabinet office minister David Lidington.

He added: "Disappointed, if not surprised, that if they really felt so strongly about it, they chose a stunt over holding the Government to account".

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