Stirling MSP Bruce Crawford chaired the longest ever meeting of the Finance and Constitution Committee last week in a marathon Stage 2 of the UK Withdrawal from the European Union (Legal Continuity) (Scotland) Bill.
The ‘Committee stage’ of the Bill gives MSPs an opportunity to bring forward amendments to the proposed legislation, after the general principles of the Bill were agreed by the Parliament the week prior.
The Continuity Bill seeks to ensure that all powers that fall within devolved areas are brought back to the Scottish Parliament after Brexit. Currently, Clause 11 of the UK Government’s EU Withdrawal Bill aims to keep these powers in Westminster in an attempted power grab.
The Finance and Constitution Committee unanimously recommended that the Scottish Parliament does not give consent to the UK Government’s Bill on the basis that it is contrary to the devolved settlement.
The Continuity Bill is on an emergency timetable with the final stage coming to the Scottish Parliament Chamber this week.
Commenting, Bruce Crawford said:
“This is an important piece of legislation that seeks to protect the integrity of the devolution settlement in Scotland – which is under threat from the UK Government’s Brexit Bill. All MSPs of all parties on the committee I Chair agreed that they could not recommend consent to this Bill in its current form on that basis.
“Due to the emergency timetable status of this Bill, we had to ensure that all amendments brought to the Committee were considered over a short period. This was done over three intensive sessions – two nights and one morning – that amounted to more than 11 hours of this particular Committee meeting.
“I’m grateful to all the MSP members and especially to the Committee Clerks and staff who stuck with us throughout as this important Bill passed through this crucial stage of scrutiny stage in the Scottish Parliament.”