Claim of Right for Scotland

Part of Opposition Day - [15TH Allotted Day, 1ST Part]Opposition Day – in the House of Commons at 5:46 pm on 4th July 2018.

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Photo of Ian Blackford Ian Blackford SNP Westminster Leader 5:46 pm, 4th July 2018

I am going to make progress.

Today, we ask the House to consider the claim of right, to recommit itself to the spirit of devolution and to place the people of Scotland at the heart of decisions, not cast them aside. Only a few weeks ago, we witnessed the shameful Tory power grab. This House and this Government showed nothing but utter contempt for the devolved Administrations as the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill was pushed through without consideration of the views of the devolved institutions. The Scottish Parliament voted overwhelmingly, by 93 votes to 30, to refuse legislative consent for clause 15 of the Bill. As such, the Bill should not have been passed through the House of Commons with the clause intact, but the Tories decided this was acceptable. They trotted through the Lobby, voting against the will of the Scottish people—that’s what you did.

We all know that the Sewel convention established the long-held practice that the UK Government cannot legislate on devolved areas without the consent of the devolved Parliament—or at least we thought we did. [Interruption.] Well, there we are: this is the sovereign Parliament. You might want to say that to your voters in Scotland: that you don’t believe it is the people of Scotland who are sovereign, as was defined in the court case in 1953. You are prepared to throw away the sovereignty of the people of Scotland and allow Westminster to do whatever it likes. Frankly, that is not acceptable to the rest of us. How can you be Secretary of State for Scotland if you behave in such a way? That is not the Secretary of State for Scotland; that is the Government’s man in Scotland.