Ruth Davidson: SNP Government wants row with UK over Brexit powers
The Scottish Conservative leader accused the SNP of ‘constitutional gamesmanship’ as the stand-off between Holyrood and Westminster continues.
Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson has said the SNP-run Scottish Government “actively wants a row” with Westminster over where devolved powers should be held post-Brexit.
The Conservative claimed the dispute between Edinburgh and London on this issue “now boils down to a disagreement” over what should happen to a small number of powers in the period immediately after the UK quits the European Union.
Talks have been taking place between the UK Government and the devolved administrations – who accuse Westminster of mounting a “power grab” on devolution.
And Ms Davidson accused Scottish nationalists of “constitutional gamesmanship” as the stand-off continues.
After the UK Government failed to make changes to the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill – which will transpose EU law into domestic law in time for Brexit – the Scottish Government introduced its own emergency legislation at Holyrood.
The UK Withdrawal from the European Union (Legal Continuity) (Scotland) Bill is being rushed through the Scottish Parliament, despite Presiding Officer Ken Macintosh ruling it to be outside of Holyrood’s legislative competence.
Ahead of more talks between the UK and Scottish governments on the issue, and with Theresa May and Nicola Sturgeon due to meet next week, Ms Davidson branded the proposed legislation a “massive political power play from this SNP government”.
Writing in the Scotsman newspaper, the Scottish Conservative leader said: “The only conclusion I can reach from the last week is that the SNP now actively wants a row.”
Ms Davidson stated: “As things stand, the Scottish Government has no influence over these EU powers and never has, because they are held in Brussels. The SNP has never previously complained about this and Nicola Sturgeon’s position, apparently, is that they should stay there.
“But because the UK Government now proposes to be able to keep consistency for a temporary period before a joint UK-wide framework is agreed, all hell kicks off.”
While she said the SNP will “cast itself as the dogged defender of devolution” in the dispute, portraying Westminster as “some sort of post-colonial administrator, determined to grab power”, she insisted this was not the case.
“It’s the SNP, not Westminster, who are failing to respect the devolution settlement in fast-tracking unconstitutional legislation through Holyrood with minimum scrutiny,” Ms Davidson said.