Scottish Devolution and Article 50

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 4:45 pm on 15th March 2017.

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Photo of Patrick Grady Patrick Grady Shadow SNP Spokesperson (International Development) 4:45 pm, 15th March 2017

Planning is of absolute importance, and I have to say, I probably have more confidence in the Scottish Government’s ability to plan ahead, irrespective of what the UK Government is doing. The First Minister has demonstrated at every turn, before, during and since the EU referendum, that the Scottish Government are actually thinking ahead about the consequences of various decisions might be. We have seen that demonstrated again this week.

My hon. Friend leads me on to the important practicalities of how the implications of triggering article 50 will be felt in Scotland and their implications for devolution. The first—I hope we will have an opportunity to find out a little bit more about this—will be when we finally get to see and hear more about the Government’s thinking on the great repeal Bill, or, as it is increasingly known in some circles, the great power grab. It is a serious concern for Members from all parties, not least the hardcore Brexiteers who wanted to restore sovereignty to the House of Commons, that what will in fact happen is a power transfer—a power grab—by the Executive in the United Kingdom.

We read in The Times the other day that it will perhaps not just be a great repeal Bill, but that up to seven or more pieces of individual legislation will be needed just to deal with the complexities of taking us out of the European Union. The Government have to start answering questions, precisely as my hon. Friend Margaret Ferrier said, so that we can make plans.

The consequences for devolution are profound. Which will come first, the chicken or the egg? Are we going to see an amendment to the Scotland Act to reserve powers as a result of Brexit, or will individual pieces of legislation come forward that reserve different powers? What exactly is going to happen?

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