MP slams ‘non­sense’ from SNP

Ac­cused over Brexit bill

Stirling Observer - - PRIMARY ONES - Robert Fairnie

Stirling MP Stephen Kerr is at the cen­tre of a war of words over SNP claims that he had not read the EU (With­drawal)Bill.

The bill will re­peal the Euro­pean Com­mu­ni­ties Act 1972 mean­ing that EU in­sti­tu­tions can no longer make laws af­fect­ing the UK and pow­ers which were pre­vi­ously shared are trans­ferred back.

The SNP have been crit­i­cal of this, say­ing that it fails to of­fer as­sur­ances that the Scot­tish Par­lia­ment will re­ceive all its rel­e­vant pow­ers when they re­turn from the EU.

Af­ter more than 13 hours of de­bate the Bill passed a read­ing in the House of Com­mons by 326-290 votes, mov­ing it to the com­mit­tee stage.

Dur­ing the ex­changes on Mon­day, SNP MP Joanna Cherry asked Mr Kerr if he agreed that the law would re­move leg­isla­tive com­pe­tence from the Scot­tish Par­lia­ment, in­clud­ing in ar­eas of law not re­served to the UK such as agri­cul­ture and fish­eries.

She then asked if he had even read the bill.

He replied: “The an­swer to the first ques­tion is no. It was a Con­ser­va­tive gov­ern­ment who passed new pow­ers to the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment and there is no ev­i­dence, other than in the fever­ish imag­i­na­tion of SNP mem­bers that the UK Gov­ern­ment in­tend to grab back any de­volved pow­ers.”

SNP coun­cil­lor Ali­son Lau­rie claimed the ex­change showed Mr Kerr had not read the bill, de­spite vot­ing for it.

Mr Kerr called that “in­ac­cu­rate non­sense”.

Coun­cil­lor Lau­rie said: “Stirling’s Tory MP cam­paigned to leave the EU at any cost last year and, de­spite the vast ma­jor­ity of his con­stituents vot­ing to re­main, he has be­trayed the peo­ple he is sup­posed to rep­re­sent by con­tin­u­ally back­ing Theresa May’s right-wing hard Brexit.

“The sit­u­a­tion is made all the more con­cern­ing by Mr Kerr’s ad­mis­sion that he hasn’t even read a bill that he was keen to speak in favour of and vote for.

“In the mean­time no as­sur­ances in this bill have been of­fered to pro­tect­ing the full na­ture of pow­ers that are cur­rently de­volved to the Scot­tish Par­lia­ment.

“The Law So­ci­ety of Scot­land has said the ef­fect of this bill would be to re­move leg­isla­tive com­pe­tence of the Scot­tish Par­lia­ment, in­clud­ing pow­ers that are cur­rently de­volved, there­fore un­der­min­ing Scot­tish Par­lia­men­tary democ­racy and de­vo­lu­tion.”

Mr Kerr said: “An­other foot-in-mouth mo­ment from the SNP. If noth­ing else they are con­sis­tent.

“Of course I read the Bill and I would have been de­lighted to con­firm that had Coun­cil­lor Lau­rie both­ered to ask but, as ever, the SNP refuse to let an in­con­ve­nient truth stand in the way.

“This was a UK ref­er­en­dum and that UK re­sult must be re­spected.

“This Bill will en­sure we have a sta­ble and func­tion­ing statute book on the day we leave the EU. We sim­ply can­not af­ford the al­ter­na­tive.

“I also find it in­ter­est­ing that those who ob­ject to the so-called Henry VIII pow­ers have been con­tent for over 40 years with the fact that par­lia­ment has had no ca­pac­ity to change or scru­ti­nise a steady stream of EU laws and reg­u­la­tions.

“Min­is­ters have said on many oc­ca­sions that they ex­pect there to be more de­volved pow­ers due to Brexit. The irony is that the SNP would im­me­di­ately seek to hand them back to Brus­sels.

“In­stead of this in­ac­cu­rate non­sense they should be sup­port­ing our busi­nesses in Stirling and across Scot­land, en­sur­ing they are in the best pos­si­ble po­si­tion to seize ev­ery new mar­ket op­por­tu­nity pre­sented.”

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