scotland pm

The Scottish parliament has voted against backing Theresa May’s key piece of Brexit legislation, paving the way for a constitutional crisis. Politicians at Holyrood refused to grant consent to the EU Withdrawal Bill, meaning Downing Street may have to take the unprecedented step of overruling the Edinburgh assembly to make Brexit happen.

Background

The Guardian explains that “the vote is not legally binding but it will force the prime minister to make a high-risk decision to impose those power-sharing plans on Scotland or make further concessions to the Scottish government to avoid a crisis.

Imposing powers on Scotland would be unprecedented and fuel Sturgeon’s demands for a second independence referendum, potentially providing the Scottish National party with a further justification for staging one.

The two governments have been at loggerheads for months over how to manage 24 EU powers that will return to the UK after Brexit, including over state aid for industry, genetically modified crops policy, fishing quotas and farm subsidies, after ministers in London made a series of concessions brokered by the Scottish Conservatives.

Both governments agree those policies should operate uniformally across the UK, shared between the four governments in London, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast. The UK says it will consult the Scottish government on all changes to those policies, and try to seek agreement.”