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EU Continuity Bill amendments lead to five-hour night shift for MSPs

Finance and Constitution committee - Scottish Parliament

EU Continuity Bill amendments lead to five-hour night shift for MSPs

MSPs on the Finance and Constitution Committee worked into the night as they considered amendments to the Scottish Government’s emergency bill to enshrine current European laws in Scots law after Brexit.

The committee worked until 11pm and reconvened at 8am this morning as they considered over 200 amendments to the UK Withdrawal from the European Union (Legal Continuity) (Scotland) Bill, along with Brexit minister Michael Russell.

The bill was introduced because Scottish Ministers have refused to give consent to Westminster’s EU Withdrawal Bill, which repatriates laws from Brussels.

Scottish and Welsh governments have labelled the Westminster legislation a “power grab” and have now sought to introduce their own versions of the bill to protect areas usually devolved to the devolved parliaments.

By 11pm two amendments had been agreed while 15 had been withdrawn by the Greens and Scottish labour after reassurances from Russell.

But concerns remain about “excessive powers” given to ministers as part of the process.

Scottish Conservative Adam Tomkins said: "There is a power grab - not from Holyrood to Westminster, but from parliament to the executive."

Russell said he accepted there should be “maximum scrutiny” of any special powers handed to ministers, but that government should be able to deal with the “crisis” of Brexit.


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