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Lord Steel to call for protection of devolved powers in EU Withdrawal Bill

February 10, 2018 1:23 PM
Originally published by Scottish Liberal Democrats

Former Liberal leader and Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament Lord David Steel has today warned that peers will insist on amendments to the EU withdrawal bill In order to safeguard devolution.

The House of Lords will consider the EU (Withdrawal) Bill next week, with 183 peers set to speak on the second reading of the Bill, the largest number ever.

Following on the heels of meetings between Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable, SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford and other opposition party leaders in Westminster, Lord Steel has reached out to the Scottish Government's Minister for UK Negotiations on Scotland's Place in Europe, Michael Russell, regarding amendments to the Bill and the repatriation of devolved powers to the Scottish Parliament.

Lord Steel said:

"Given that the SNP has no representatives in our legislative chamber, I have been in touch with their Brexit Minister, Michael Russell, to say that I shall put forward the complaint about the Bill currently dragging EU powers back to Westminster rather than Edinburgh.

"That is the view not just of the SNP but of the Scottish Parliament as a whole.

"We were promised amendments in the Commons which did not materialise, and we should insist in the revising Chamber on putting this right.

"It is especially irritating that the Bill at present does not recognise the separate nature of Scots law, nor the fact that agriculture is wholly devolved to Scotland."