Scotland politics

MSPs to debate Article 50 but Holyrood consent move dropped

Holyrood Image copyright PA

The government has decided not to press for a formal consent vote over the triggering of Article 50.

Members will hold a debate about Brexit on Tuesday, but it will not be a formal legislative consent motion.

The Supreme Court ruled that there was no legally enforceable need for devolved administrations to give consent to the Brexit trigger bill.

However, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon argued there was still a political need to do so, and pledged to let MSPs vote.

A Scottish government spokesman had earlier said work was "ongoing" on a legislative consent memorandum, which would be considered by the Presiding Officer before a formal vote was permitted.

However Brexit minister Mike Russell subsequently confirmed that it would not be possible to get a so-called Sewel motion through the system quickly enough.

The Article 50 bill, which gives the UK government permission to begin the process of leaving the European Union, passed the first legislative hurdle on Wednesday.

Although MPs voted by a 498 to 114 in favour of the bill, all but one of Scotland's MPs - Scottish Secretary David Mundell - were opposed to it.

Both First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Mr Russell have insisted there is a clear political need for the UK government to let Holyrood have a vote.

'Incompatible timetable'

Mr Russell said Holyrood could still send a "resounding message" with the symbolic motion.

He said: "It is now essential that the Scottish Parliament's views are heard prior to the end of the committee stage of the Article 50 bill in the House of Commons, so we will lodge a motion to allow parliament to express its view.

"A formal LCM would have to go through committee deliberation before Parliament as a whole was able to vote on it - a timetable incompatible with the accelerated timescale to which Westminster is now working.

"When the motion is debated by MSPs next week it will be a chance for our national parliament to send a powerful signal on behalf of the people we are elected to serve. And I believe that parliament will send a resounding message that Scotland's future is in Europe."

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites