Com­mons row on de­volved par­lia­ments’ role in Brexit

Pol­i­tics: English Labour MPs block ‘en­dorse­ment’

The Press and Journal (Inverness, Highlands, and Islands) - - News -

English LabourMPs on the Com­mons Brexit com­mit­tee blocked a call to seek “en­dorse­ment” from the de­volved par­lia­ments for the UK Gov­ern­ment’s fi­nal EU with­drawal deal.

A new re­port, pub­lished to­day, re­veals that Plaid Cymru’s Jonathan Ed­wards put this sug­ges­tion for­ward dur­ing dis­cus­sions.

His pro­posed amend­ment read: “It is clear that the fi­nal ne­go­ti­ated set­tle­ment will im­pact di­rectly on the func­tions of the de­volved in­sti­tu­tions.

“There­fore, the en­dorse­ment of the de­volved par­lia­ments should be sought for the fi­nal deal.”

SNP mem­ber Joanna Cherry and Lib­eral Demo­crat North­ern Isles MP Alis­tair Carmichael were among five to back the idea.

But the English Labour MPs on­thecom­mit­tee – ex­clud­ing chair­man Hi­lary Benn who doesn’t vote un­less there’s a tie – sided with the Tories in re­ject­ing the amend­ment, which was re­jected.

Among them was prom­i­nent Brex­i­teer Michael Gove, the Con­ser­va­tive for­mer jus­tice sec­re­tary, who was raised in Aberdeen.

Mr Ed­wards ac­cused the Labour MPs of block­ing their Welsh gov­ern­ment col­leagues from hav­ing a say on mat­ters of na­tional im­por­tance.

But for­mer shadow Scot­tish sec­re­tary, Ian Mur­ray, who i s now Scot­tish Labour’s West­min­ster spokesman, de­fended their stance.

The Ed­in­burgh South MP said: “Rather than add any­thing con­struc­tive to the dis­cus­sions about the most im­por­tant de­ci­sion for our coun­try since the Se­condWorldWar, na­tion­al­ists are once again play­ing po­lit­i­cal games to score cheap points.

“It was Labour that forced the Tory gov­ern­ment to pro­duce a plan for Brexit, and we have been clear that we want to see the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment in­volved in the ne­go­ti­a­tions.

“How­ever, Brexit should not be used as a false man­date from na­tion­al­ists for a se­cond in­de­pen­dence ref­er­en­dum.”

Mr Carmichael pointed out he voted against var­i­ous other na­tion­al­ist amend­ments that sought to re­quire con­sent by the de­volved ad­min­is­tra­tions.

But he added: “This one was dif­fer­ent and re­quired the UK Gov­ern­ment to seek en­dorse­ment. This is a lesser re­quire­ment which re­flects bet­ter the con­sti­tu­tional ar­range­ments that we have and would force the two gov­ern­ments to co­op­er­ate and to com­mu­ni­cate bet­ter.”

The Supre­meCourt is ex­pected to an­nounce its rul­ing on the Brexit chal­lenge later this month.

It could mean that There­saMay must seek the con­sent of the de­volved par­lia­ments be­fore she can trig­ger Ar­ti­cle 50.

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