A local politician has criticised Scottish Conservative MPs who voted against amendments to the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill which protects powers that currently reside with the Scottish Parliament.
Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, said that amendments to Clause 11 would have protected 111 of the devolved responsibilities of the Scottish Parliament.
MPs are currently voting on the bill, which transfers European law into British law.
Mr Newlands claims these powers could now be lost because of the vote against the amendments by Scottish Conservative MPs, including neighboring constituency MP for East Renfrewshire, Paul Masterton. Mr Masterton recently described clause 11 as “not fit for purpose” and that it must be replaced with a new version.
In a midnight vote on Tuesday morning, SNP MPs voted for amendments to Clause 11 and against the unamended clause, which Newlands describes as the biggest power grab by Westminster since the establishment of the Scottish Parliament in 1999.
Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, said: “Last night’s vote was a sad day for those who support Scottish devolution, as the UK Government with the support of the Scottish Conservative MPs, voted through a clause to the EU Withdrawal Bill which quite simply is the biggest Westminster power grab on the Scottish Parliament since it reconvened in 1999.
“62% of Scots want to see responsibilities over devolved areas currently held by Europe transferred straight to the Scottish Parliament. However, this latest set of Brexit shenanigans creates the conditions whereby up to 111 powers under the current responsibility of the Scottish Parliament will be transferred back to Westminster. Once again, Westminster and the Scottish Tories have failed to respect our Scottish Parliament.
“Ruth Davidson told us all that her Scottish Conservative MPs would stand up for Scotland and for the interests of the Scottish Parliament. However, time and time again they’ve shown themselves to act only in the interest of the Tory Chief Whip.
“The Tories are trying to use the Brexit mess that they’ve created to roll back on the very principles of devolution. The SNP will continue to campaign against their regressive approach and stand up for the Scottish Parliament.”
Paul Masterton responded to Mr Newlands comments, he said: “As stated clearly in the debate, Scottish Conservative MPs have concerns regarding the current drafting of Clause 11. However, the position put forward by the SNP goes far too far and poses a threat to the integrity of the UK internal market, and fundamentally to the security of the Union.
Photo: MP Paul Masterton
“There is excellent progress being made between the UK Government and the devolved administrations about where powers will lie after Brexit, but one thing is clear: the Scottish Parliament will obtain substantial new powers at the end of this process. It is our view that those discussions should be given time to continue, and the outcome influence the final drafting of the Withdrawal Bill.
“We know that Scotland’s two governments believe a deal can be done, and Scottish Conservatives stand ready to help broker a compromise.
“This talk from the SNP about failing to respect devolution is cheap. I, and my colleagues, have been explicitly clear: we will not support anything which undermines devolution and does not respect the integrity of the Union.”