Two thirds of voters believe Scottish MPs are not doing enough to stop Brexit “power grab”, poll finds

Written by Liam Kirkaldy on 2 February 2018 in News

Polling by Survation found that 64.1 per cent of respondents agreed that the Scottish Parliament should have control over food, fishing, farming and the environment when the UK leaves the EU

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More than two thirds of voters believe Scottish MPs are not doing enough to stop the UK Government from launching a “power grab” on devolution, according to new polling from Survation.

The Welsh and Scottish governments have both repeatedly described the EU (Withdrawal) Bill, which will transfer EU legislation into UK law, as a “naked power grab” which will undermine the powers currently held by devolved administrations.

After raising concerns with the UK Government, Scottish Conservative MPs received assurances that the bill would be amended.

However ministers then claimed they had run out of time to make changes in the bill’s passage through the Commons and that any amendments will need to be made in the Lords.

But while David Mundell sought to allay concerns, saying “this is not a power grab – it is a power bonanza for the Scottish Parliament”, new polling suggests cross-party concerns are shared by the public.

The polling, conducted by Survation on behalf of 38 Degrees, found that 64.1 per cent of respondents agreed that the Scottish Parliament should have control over food, fishing, farming and the environment when the UK leaves the EU.

But Survation found that just 23.2 per cent of those surveyed said Scottish MPs were doing enough to push the UK Government to act on concerns over the effect of Brexit on devolution, with 49.2 per cent agreeing they were not doing enough. Excluding those who answered ‘don’t know’, 68 per cent said they did not think Scottish MPs were doing enough to hold the UK Government to deliver on its assurances.

SNP voters were most supportive of devolved powers staying with Holyrood after Brexit, with 73.3 per cent in agreement.

But a majority of both Yes and No voters from the 2014 Scottish independence referendum came out in support of continued devolved control over food, fishing, farming and the environment, at 82.3 per cent and 53.1 per cent respectively.

Stewart Kirkpatrick, Head of Scotland for 38 Degrees, said: “This poll shows that people in Scotland are tired of the UK Government's delays. Even though the Brexit bill has moved to the Lords there is plenty of opportunity for MPs to put pressure on UK government ministers to get measures in place to protect devolution and ensure that is strengthened by Brexit not weakened.

“There have been a lot of fine speeches by MPs in the House of Commons. Now they need to make it clear to the UK Government that the time has come to act and that it must bring forward far-reaching amendments that respect devolution and ensure that these powers come to the Scottish parliament.

“The danger is that devolution will get lost among all the complexity of Brexit legislation. That must not happen. This poll shows there is rock solid support for these powers to go to Holyrood rather than to Westminster.”

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