Scottish Parliament rejects May's Brexit bill in symbolic, but significant act

An anti Brexit protester waves EU and Union flags and holds up a placard opposite the Houses of Parliament on a sunny day in London

The Scottish Parliament is on course for a consitutional crisis after MSPs refused to consent to the United Kingdom government's EU Withdrawal Bill.

The Scottish Parliament today voted down crucial Brexit-related legislation - sparking fears of a constitutional crisis.

The Scottish Parliament passed its own version of Brexit legislation, called the Continuity Bill, in March by a margin of 95 to 32 to ensure it retains control of areas that are now devolved after Britain formally leaves the EU.

They blocked the crucial legislation from being passed amid a row whether powers returned to the United Kingdom from the European Union should be handed to Edinburgh or London.

MSPs today backed a notion making clear that Holyrood "does not consent" to the European Union withdrawal bill, which could spark a constitutional crisis. "It would be even more outrageous if, having seen Holyrood specifically refuse consent to this Bill, the Tories imposed it on Scotland against our will", she said.

Scottish Brexit minister Michael Russell said it would give United Kingdom ministers "a totally free hand to pass legislation that would directly affect Scotland's fishing industry, our farmers, our environment, our public sector procurement rules, the safe use of chemicals and our food safety", while Holyrood's "hands would be tied".

The minister said he was disappointed by "all the constitutional hoo-ha, all the bickering and politicking".

"The event will offer an opportunity for 400 people from across rural Scotland to influence high level decision makers and ensure their community's voice is heard".

"But we would appeal to Scottish Labour and Scottish Liberal Democrat MSPs to think hard before siding with the nationalists".

The prime minister now has to decide whether to press ahead despite the vote or make renewed efforts for some kind of compromise.

While the Scottish Parliament's refusal to back the bill will not legally prevent ministers from pressing ahead, it will increase the tensions of the impact of Brexit on devolved settlements across the UK.

The EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, left, and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon prepare for a meeting at EU headquarters in Brussels, last year.

How did the row between the United Kingdom and Scottish governments come about?

He added: "So the idea that in the context of these huge changes in the balance of powers between Westminster and Holyrood somehow the United Kingdom government would be out there waiting to grab control of crofting is just ridiculous".

Mr Findlay said: "He has no understanding of Scotland or Scottish politics".

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