Mundell claims SNP blocked Brexit pow­ers com­pro­mise cre­ated by ex-pm

● Black­ford calls for Scot­tish Sec­re­tary to re­sign af­ter ‘fail­ing to pro­tect de­vo­lu­tion’

The Scotsman - - News Digest - By PARIS GOURTSOYANNIS West­min­ster Correspondent pgourt­soy­an­nis@scots­man.com

A last-ditch cross-party bid to re­solve the row over post brexit de­vo­lu­tion was re­jected by the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment, David Mundell has claimed.

The Scot­tish Sec­re­tary told MPS that a pro­posal, drawn up by for­mer civil ser­vant Jim Gal­lagher and ex-prime min­is­ter Gor­don Brown, was put to the SNP’S Brexit min­is­ter Michael Rus­sell by the UK gov­ern­ment, but was dis­missed with­out dis­cus­sion.

Labour’s plan would have seen West­min­ster con­trol of pow­ers re­turn­ing from Brus­sels be­ing lim­ited to ar­eas af­fect­ing the UK’S in­ter­na­tional obli­ga­tions.

Mr Mundell was ad­dress­ing MPS for the first time since de­bate on the de­vo­lu­tion clauses of the EU With­drawal Bill were squeezed to just 15 min­utes in the House of Com­mons – with all the time be­ing taken up by Tory MP David Lid­ing­ton – which led to a walk­out by SNP MPS in the mid­dle of Prime Min­is­ter’s Ques­tions the next day.

“They were not for mov­ing, they were not for com­pro­mis- ing, they were not for chang­ing,” Mr Mundell said of the UK gov­ern­ment’s com­pro­mise ap­proach to the SNP.

SNP West­min­ster leader Ian Black­ford – who re­turned to the Com­mons yes­ter­day af­ter be­ing sus­pended on Wednesday – said of Mr Mundell: “The Sec­re­tary of State has failed to pro­tect de­vo­lu­tion, failed to pro­tect the Scot­tish Par­lia­ment, failed to pro­tect Scot­tish in­ter­ests.

“Hav­ing plunged Scot­land into con­sti­tu­tional cri­sis, will he fi­nally do the right thing if he has any dig­nity, if he has any self-re­spect, and re­sign and do it now?”

Mr Mundell replied: “Af­ter yes­ter­day I am not tak­ing any lessons from [Mr Black­ford] on dig­nity.”

He also told MPS he was con­cerned at re­ports that Mr Rus­sell was con­sid­er­ing pulling the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment out of tech­ni­cal talks on how joint pow­ers will be man­aged af­ter Brexit.

Mean­while, Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May’s flag­ship Brexit leg­is­la­tion was again thrown into doubt af­ter a com­pro­mise de­signed to keep Tory back­benchers on board was branded “un­ac­cept­able” by lead­ing rebels.

She saw off de­feat on the EU With­drawal Bill at the last minute on Tuesday by per­suad­ing rebels that she would of­fer con­ces­sions to ad­dress their con­cerns about be­ing given a truly “mean­ing­ful vote” on the fi­nal Brexit deal.

But an amend­ment tabled by Brexit Sec­re­tary David Davis yes­ter­day gives MPS no chance to block a “no deal” EU with­drawal if agree­ment has not been reached with Brus­sels by 21 Jan­uary next year.

In­stead, MPS would be al­lowed to vote only on a “neu­tral” mo­tion, con­firm­ing that they have con­sid­ered a state­ment by a min­is­ter on the is­sue – cru­cially, the state­ment would be un­a­mend­able.

Lead­ing pro-eu Con­ser­va­tive Do­minic Grieve said: “It is un­ac­cept­able in my view. It is not in ac­cor­dance with the nor­mal pro­ce­dures of the House of Com­mons and it to­tally negates the point of the amend­ment, which was to give MPS a say.”

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