“Smash and grab” on devolution will "haunt the Tories like the Poll Tax", warns Ian Blackford

Written by Liam Kirkaldy on 18 June 2018 in News

Speaking ahead of an emergency House of Commons debate on the Sewel Convention, Blackford warns “Scotland will not accept or forget the Tory government’s smash and grab raid"

Image credit: PA

The row over the so-called “power grab” on devolution will "haunt the Tories like the Poll Tax", according to SNP MP Ian Blackford.

Speaking ahead of an emergency House of Commons debate on the Sewel Convention, the SNP Westminster leader warned that “Scotland will not accept or forget the Tory government’s smash and grab raid on the devolved powers of the Scottish Parliament”.

SNP MPs last week reacted in outrage after key amendments relating to devolved powers in the UK Government’s Brexit legislation were allotted less than 20 minutes of discussion time, with only Cabinet Office minister David Lidington allowed to speak.

Speaker John Bercow then expelled Blackford from the chamber after the MP refused to sit down after asking for the Commons to sit in private during PMQs.

The Scottish Parliament last month refused to give legislative consent for Clause 15 of the EU Withdrawal Bill, which contains powers over the environment, food standards, agriculture and fishing, after the SNP, Scottish Labour, the Scottish Greens and Scottish Lib Dems all expressed concern over the effect of the legislation on devolution.

Blackford, the MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber, has called on the Government to bring in a new law to break the impasse.

He said: "Scotland will not accept or forget the Tory government’s smash and grab raid on the devolved powers of the Scottish Parliament – it will haunt the Tories for a generation just as the Poll Tax did.

"The Prime Minister has a personal responsibility to bring forward emergency legislation to end the power grab, resolve this constitutional crisis, and rectify the severe breakdown in trust that the UK government has caused by ignoring the will of the Scottish Parliament.

"The UK government’s behaviour is unprecedented, undemocratic, and completely unacceptable – breaking the UK’s constitutional conventions, and ripping up Scotland’s devolution settlement.

"There will be no business as usual until this attack on devolution ends. Scotland will not be silenced, and the SNP will do everything in our power to defend devolution and protect Scotland’s interests."

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