Emergency debate to be held after SNP’s walkout
Party also calls for Scottish Secretary to resign over ‘power grab’
The SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford has secured an emergency debate on Brexit after the SNP group staged a mass walkout at the Home of Commons.
Mr Blackford called for a debate on Westminster’s retention of 24 devolved powers but was expelled from the Commons on Wednesday after challenging the Speaker.
SNP MPs all walked out of the building behind
“David Mundell has failed to protect devolution”
him as part of a protest against a lack of debating time allocated before a vote on the EU Withdrawal Bill was made.
The group claims the UK Government has been disrespecting the devolution settlement.
The matter will be discussed at the Supreme Court next month following a breakdown in intergovernmental talks.
MPs will now have a three-hour debate on Monday on the Sewel Convention, which governs the devolution settlement, and how it should be applied to the devolved nations after Brexit.
During a heated debate yesterday, Scottish ANGRY SCENES: SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford speaks in the House of Commons before he was kicked out, sparking a party walkout
Secretary David Mundell insisted the Sewel Convention only covered normal events and argued Brexit was extraordinary.
He said: “While devolution settlements did not predict the exit from the EU, they did explicitly provide that in situations of disagreement, the UK Parliament may be required to legislate without the consent of the devolved legislatures.
“Scotland is not a partner
of the United Kingdom. Scotland is part of the United Kingdom.”
However, Mr Mundell’s comments provoked fury from the SNP benches, with Ross, Skye and Lochaber MP Mr Blackford hitting out at the Scottish Secretary for supporting the UK government’s EU Withdrawal Bill.
“David Mundell has shafted Scotland by failing to protect devolution from this Tory power grab,”
said Mr Blackford. “His position is now completely untenable and he must resign.
“The Tories may think they can do whatever they like to Scotland and get away with it – but this attack on the powers of the Scottish Parliament cannot be tolerated.
“The UK government must respect the democratic will of the Scottish Parliament and resolve this constitutional
crisis by ending the power grab now.
“The SNP will fight tooth and nail to defend the devolution settlement that the people of Scotland voted for and to protect these important powers.
“Scotland will not be silenced and there will be no business as usual.”
SNP colleague Stewart McDonald asked fellow MPs to consider the tactics used by the late
Irish nationalist Charles Stewart Parnell to secure Irish independence.
“He, of course, along with his colleagues at the time, successfully used the Standing Orders of the House to frustrate Government business,” said Mr McDonald.
“Given the way Ireland has this Government over a barrel at the minute, it might just be that those tactics are of interest at the present time.” Scottish airport bosses have called on politicians to support the Heathrow expansion.
Westminster will vote on proposals for a third runway at the London airport next month, but opposition has strengthened in recent weeks, with some Labour, Lib Dems and Conservatives set to vote against the plans.
The Scottish Chambers of Commerce have, however, backed the proposals and the Scottish Government signed a memorandum of understanding backing expansion in 2016.
Aberdeen and Inverness are part of a group of 40 airports
“We believe our country stands to benefit”
included in an open letter calling for support in the hope the expansion will help boost trade and tourism links for Scotland, unlocking up to 16,100 jobs new jobs across the region.
The letter states: “We believe every corner of our country stands to benefit from the growth and trade that will stem from links to an expanded UK Hub airport.
“Expansion at Heathrow will provide much-needed, longhaul connectivity to our passengers and will double the cargo capacity for the benefit of UK exporters.
“Heathrow has already shown its commitment to domestic connectivity by reducing its domestic passenger charges by £15 per passenger since January 2017, investing in a £10 million fund to kick-start domestic routes and ring-fencing new slots for domestic use.
“All of us, in every region and nation of the UK, will benefit from a bigger hub airport.”