Thou­sands join SNP in back­lash to ‘power grab’

Mem­ber­ship: More than 5,000 sign up in 24 hours since MPS walk out

The Courier & Advertiser (Angus and The Mearns Edition) - - NEWS - Gareth mcpher­son po­lit­i­cal ed­i­tor

The back­lash against the UK Gov­ern­ment for seiz­ing Holy­rood pow­ers has al­ready seen thou­sands of peo­ple join the SNP, says Ni­cola Stur­geon.

The First Min­is­ter re­ported to MSPS that more than 5,000 peo­ple have signed up to the Na­tion­al­ist cause in the 24 hours since her MPS stormed out of the Com­mons over the so-called power grab.

Out­side Holy­rood, hun­dreds of pro­test­ers gath­ered to voice their anger and de­mand “in­de­pen­dence now” in a de­mon­stra­tion at­tended by new SNP deputy leader Keith Brown.

The long-run­ning Brexit pow­ers row be­tween the UK and Scot­tish gov­ern­ments reached cri­sis point when the Com­mons waved through curbs on the Scot­tish Par­lia­ment in the EU With­drawal Bill with­out de­bate on Tues­day. It prompted an un­prece­dented Prime Min­is­ter’s Ques­tions boy­cott by SNP MPS on Wed­nes­day.

At First Min­is­ter’s Ques­tions, Ms Stur­geon said the power grab was the “most clear and pow­er­ful ev­i­dence so far that the Westminster sys­tem does not work for Scot­land”.

“The Tories plan to re­move pow­ers from this par­lia­ment with­out the con­sent of this par­lia­ment,” she said. “They ripped up the con­ven­tion that has un­der­pinned de­vo­lu­tion for nigh on 20 years. They did so in the most con­temp­tu­ous way pos­si­ble, with a 15 minute de­bate and no op­por­tu­nity for a sin­gle Scot­tish MP to get to speak.”

The SNP leader said the 5,085 peo­ple who swelled the SNP ranks be­tween PMQS and FMQS “ex­pressed out­rage” over the power grab. The row is over whether some of the de­volved com­pe­tences re­turn­ing from the EU are housed in Westminster or Holy­rood.

Tory min­is­ters say 24 of the 153 repa­tri­ated pow­ers cov­er­ing de­volved ar­eas must ini­tially be run from Westminster for up to seven years, while com­mon rules are drawn up to pro­tect the Bri­tish in­ter­nal mar­ket.

In a state­ment to the Com­mons, Scot­land Sec­re­tary David Mun­dell said push­ing ahead with­out Holy­rood’s con­sent is “not a sit­u­a­tion any of us would have cho­sen”.

“It is not how­ever a cri­sis, nor is it un­fore­seen,” he told MPS. “While the de­vo­lu­tion set­tle­ments did not pre­dict EU exit they did ex­plic­itly pro­vide that in sit­u­a­tions of dis­agree­ment, the UK Par­lia­ment may be re­quired to leg­is­late with­out the con­sent of the de­volved leg­is­la­ture.”

He added the UK Gov­ern­ment has “made ev­ery ef­fort to reach agree­ment”, but had to ad­vance the With­drawal Bill “to en­sure the whole of the United King­dom leaves the EU with as much le­gal cer­tainty as pos­si­ble”. Pete Wishart, SNP MP for Perthshire, told Leader of the Com­mons Andrea Lead­som that she must take re­spon­si­bil­ity for al­lo­cat­ing just 90 min­utes of de­bate to “turn the de­vo­lu­tion set­tle­ment on its head”.


In­de­pen­dence sup­port­ers take part in demo at Holy­rood yes­ter­day.

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