Scottish Parliament committee calls for evidence on UK Government’s EU withdrawal bill

Written by Jenni Davidson on 11 September 2017 in News

The call for evidence comes on the twentieth anniversary of the devolution referendum that created the Scottish Parliament

Flags outside the Scottish Parliament - Image credit: Scottish Parliament

A Scottish Parliament committee is to take evidence on the UK Government’s proposals for re-patriating powers after Britain leaves the EU.

The Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee has issued a call for evidence on the UK Government’s European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, also known as the repeal bill.

The bill repeals the European Communities Act 1972 and converts EU legislation into UK law.

It also creates power for UK and Scottish ministers to make secondary legislation, including temporary powers to allow for corrections to laws that would no longer operate properly once the UK has left the EU.

The committee will consider the delegated powers in the bill that will be given to the Scottish Government.


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Committee convener Graham Simpson said: “Our focus will be on the powers the UK Government plans to confer on Scottish ministers under the bill.

“We want to hear views on whether it’s appropriate to confer these powers on Scottish ministers, whether they are appropriately framed and workable and whether the parliamentary scrutiny procedures are sufficient.” 

The committee’s call for evidence sets out the areas that the committee is particularly interested in receiving evidence on, which include the implications for devolution, whether new UK-wide mechanisms need to be put in place and parliamentary oversight of the new powers.

The call for evidence on the new powers comes on the 20th anniversary of the 1997 referendum on devolution that brought about the Scottish Parliament.

The SNP used the anniversary to call for cross-party consensus to prevent devolved powers being re-reserved to Westminster after Brexit.

SNP MP Stephen Gethins said: "On the 20th anniversary of the 1997 devolution referendum – the day Scotland voted to reconvene the Scottish Parliament – SNP MPs in Westminster will stand against the Tories' EU Withdrawal Bill that undermines the very foundations of the devolution settlement.

He added: “’Re-reserving powers’ coming from Brussels is the Tories' polite language for a power grab. 

“If the new Scottish Labour MPs could persuade their colleagues to get behind the SNP and deny the EU Withdrawal Bill a second reading – something that the Westminster group have hinted at – they would find allies across the Chamber. 

“Scotland’s 13 Tories, whose leader backed the single market last year, would then be all that was needed for a majority.

“That would provide a soft landing and give businesses and the rest of us the certainty needed.”

Scottish Labour leader, Alex Rowley said: “Twenty years ago Labour delivered a Scottish Parliament.

“We now take Holyrood for granted, but it was only delivered by a Labour government.

“The early years of devolution saw a Labour-led Scottish government introduce the smoking ban, the free bus pass as well as free personal care, the abolition of tuition fees alongside rising levels of investment in public services.

“Holyrood must return to the sense of hope, optimism and progress that defined the 1997 referendum and the early years of devolution.

“We need to leave the division of the past decade behind and build for the future.

“The majority of Scots want a strong Scottish Parliament inside the UK, and it falls on all parties to look at how we use the powers of the Scottish Parliament to make Scotland a fairer country for the many built on the principles of fairness and justice.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie MSP said: "Liberal Democrats are proud of the part we played in bringing about the devolution voted for in 1997 and enacted from 1999.

“A decentralised United Kingdom, with decision making closer to people, with a pluralist approach at its heart, reflected decades of campaigning for Britain to become a modern democracy.”

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