Scottish EU continuity bill 'due next month'

Written by Tom Freeman on 11 January 2018 in News

Scottish Government signals intent to move quickly to bring EU powers under Scots law after UK Government break promise on amendments to its Brexit bill

Michael Russell - Scottish Parliament

Scottish legislation to bring EU competencies into Scots law should be introduced in February, the Scottish Government has said.

The move comes after the UK Government delayed amendments to its EU Withdrawal Bill covering the devolution on powers previously held in Brussels.

A cross-party Holyrood committee described the UK legislation as "incompatible with the devolution settlement".

The Scottish Parliament is therefore unlikely to give consent to the bill, and Brexit minister Mike Russell has now said a Scottish Bill will be brought forward.

In a letter to Presiding Officer Ken Macintosh, Russell said: "The purpose of introducing the Bill is to ensure that Scotland’s laws can be prepared for the effects of EU withdrawal even if it does not prove possible to rely on the UK Bill.

"It does not mean that we have definitely resolved to reject the EU (Withdrawal) Bill, but unless and until the necessary changes to the bill are made, the Scottish Government must provide for an alternative so that on any scenario there is a legislative framework in place for protecting Scotland’s system of laws from the disruption of UK withdrawal from the EU."

UK Scottish Secretary David Mundell had previously promised changes to the EU Withdrawal Bill would be introduced next week, during the report stage in the House of Commons, but it emerged this week that they will be delayed until the House of Lords, denying Scottish MPs scrutiny of them.

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