Scottish Government ministers will advise MSPs to refuse consent for Boris Johnson’s Brexit agreement.
SNP Brexit Secretary Mike Russell, in a letter to the Cabinet Office in Westminster, said the UK Government’s approach had been “irresponsible” and further that it was “disrespectful” to the devolution settlement.
Under the settlement, a legislative consent motion (LCM), must be lodged in the devolved parliaments when the UK Government is looking to pass a law on a matter for which Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland has power.
An LCM has now been lodged in the Scottish Parliament, but Mr Russell argued there was not enough time to consider the agreement.
He said: “This is one of the most important pieces of legislation ever to be considered by the UK and Scottish Parliaments as the implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement involves a fundamental adjustment to the constitution of our nations.
“It is essential that it should receive scrutiny in all of the UK’s legislatures, that there should be the proper opportunity for civil society to consider it and for citizens to understand its meaning and significance, and for all constitutional conventions, including the Sewel Convention, to be respected during its passage.”
He added: “The Bill as drafted does not respect the devolution settlement, or afford the Scottish Parliament and devolved institutions their proper role in the process of fundamental constitutional importance of EU exit and negotiation of the new relationship with the EU.”
Aberdeen South Tory MP Ross Thomson said the move was “in no way a surprise”, adding: “While the SNP say that they want to do everything to stop no-deal in their rhetoric, what is clear is that by their refusal to support an actual deal they make no-deal more of a reality.
“No-deal Nicola doesn’t want to end the uncertainty and allow people to move on with their lives. The public can see through the SNP’s antics. They can see that the SNP is only driven by an obsession with independence.
“Simply the public want the country to move on, unlike the SNP most people don’t want more delay and division, they want to get Brexit sorted.”