Scottish Daily Mail
I’ll push on with Brexit, vows May, in spite of Scots veto
THERESA May yesterday vowed to press ahead with her Brexit legislation – despite Holyrood voting against it – saying she is representing the ‘democratic will’ of the Scottish people.
She rejected SNP claims of ‘seeking to veto the democratic wishes of the Scottish parliament’ – insisting she must protect the integrity of the UK’s common market, for which a majority of Scots voted in 2014.
She also condemned Labour and the Lib Dems for voting with the SNP to refuse consent for the EU Withdrawal Bill after the two parties were branded ‘midwives for the Scottish National Party’s crusade to tear apart the Union’.
Her comments came in response to SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford in Prime Minister’s Questions. The Ross, Skye and Lochaber MP claimed the Tories were ‘isolated and out of touch with the people of Scotland’ and asked if she would ‘respect the will’ of Holyrood and amend her legislation.
Mrs May insisted her Bill was a ‘reasonable and sensible’ way forward which had won the support of the Welsh Government.
Mr Blackford said: ‘It is very simple: the Tories are seeking to veto the democratic wishes of the Scottish parliament. This is absolutely unprecedented.
‘If this Government forces through the legislation without the consent of the Scottish parliament, the Prime Minister will be doing so in the full knowledge that they are breaking the 20-year-old devolution settlement. Will the Prime Minister reassure the House that the Withdrawal Bill will not go through without the consent of the Scottish parliament?’
Mrs May said that ‘of course we are disappointed the Scottish parliament has not granted its consent’ over the Brexit proposals.
But she added: ‘We want to ensure the integrity of the United Kingdom’s common market, and when he talks about the democratic will, he might wish to recall the fact it was the democratic will of the Scottish people to remain in the United Kingdom.’
On Tuesday, Labour and the Lib Dems united with the SNP and Greens at Holyrood to refuse to give consent for the EU Withdrawal Bill. However, the Labourrun Welsh Government – which previously supported the SNP’s opposition to the legislation – has said it is now satisfied that changes made by UK ministers had protected devolution.
In the Commons yesterday, Aberdeen South Tory MP Ross Thomson asked Mrs May: ‘Does she share my concern that Scottish Labour and Scottish Liberal Democrats have become the midand wives for the Scottish National Party’s crusade to tear apart the Union, leaving only the Scottish Conservatives as the party that wants to get on and make a success of Brexit?’ Mrs May replied: ‘We have worked long and hard with the Scottish Government the Welsh Government on those proposals.
‘The Welsh Government and the Welsh Assembly have accepted them, Labour and the Liberal Democrats in the Welsh Assembly voted for them. It is a shame it was not possible in the Scottish parliament for agreement to be reached with the Scottish Government.’
Earlier, Cabinet Minister David Lidington told MPs: ‘Constitutional nationalist politicians are quite entitled to pursue their political objectives.
‘But the Government’s responsibility is to ensure Scottish businesses and Scottish consumers are protected, that they don’t risk extra burdens or high prices as a result of an obstruction to the UK internal market.’
‘Reasonable and sensible’