Scotland politics

Sturgeon writes to Commons speaker ahead of Brexit bill vote

Nicola Sturgeon
Image caption Nicola Sturgeon was appearing on the Andrew Marr Show ahead of the key votes in the House of Commons

Nicola Sturgeon has written to the speaker of the House of Commons calling for MPs to "properly" debate the return of powers to the UK following Brexit.

The first minister said her letter to John Bercow was to ensure MPs had time to raise the issue in the Commons.

MPs will hold a final vote on the UK government's Withdrawal Bill this week.

However, the UK and Scottish government are at loggerheads over which areas of policy will be controlled by Holyrood and Westminster following Brexit.

The UK government has named 24 areas, including fishing and agriculture, where it wants power transferred from Brussels to Westminster.

The Scottish government wants all the devolved powers being transferred from Brussels after Britain's exit from the EU to go directly to Holyrood.

However, the UK government says there would need to be a "backstop" of seven years before control over fishing or agriculture would rest with Holyrood.

Image copyright PA
Image caption There are due to be 14 votes on Brexit in the House of Commons this week

Speaking on the Andrew Marr Show, Nicola Sturgeon said: "What's proposed in the Withdrawal Bill is unacceptable to the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish Parliament voted overwhelmingly against giving consent to what's been described as a power grab.

"It wasn't simply the SNP that said we shouldn't accept this - Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Greens - it was only the Tories that wanted to sign up to that power grab.

"Our MPs in the House of Commons this week will be trying hard to bring this to the floor of the House for a vote.

"I'm writing to the speaker of the House of Commons today to ask him to ensure that there is time for this issue to be properly debated.

"So I still hope, even at this 11th hour, that commonsense will break out on this issue."

'No brainer'

In her letter to Mr Bercow, Ms Sturgeon said that "19 years of constitutional convention and practice" were being put at risk.

She added: "I therefore hope you will feel able to use your offices to ensure that, prior to taking this unprecedented step, the House of Commons will have the opportunity to debate these amendments and the fundamental constitutional issues involved in their consideration of the Bill."

MPs in the House of Commons are due to vote on 14 aspects of the Brexit bill this week.

It comes as the former Home Secretary Amber Rudd appealed to Conservative colleagues to support Theresa May on the bill's upcoming vote.

In a show of unity, Remainer Ms Rudd has co-authored a piece in the Sunday's Telegraph with Brexiteer Iain Duncan Smith, calling on MPs to back the PM.

Backing the bill was a "no brainer" and vital to delivering Brexit, they said.

Labour are urging Tory rebels to side with them on "defining" issues such as staying in some form of customs union.

Ms Sturgeon said the SNP would be voting to remain part of the customs union, and retain membership of the single market as well as protecting the powers of the Scottish Parliament.

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