Date lodged: 25 October 2017
To ask the Scottish Government what the impact on the devolution settlement could be of the proposals in the EU Withdrawal Bill.
Answered by: Michael Russell 1 November 2017
The EU (Withdrawal) Bill, as drafted, would turn the founding principle of devolution on its head: that principle states that all matters which are not reserved are devolved. Instead, the Bill would reserve to the UK Government and Parliament control over all matters currently covered by EU law, even in clearly devolved areas such as the protection of the environment, agriculture or justice. In addition, the powers in the Bill do not give UK and Scottish Ministers or parliaments their constitutionally appropriate roles in preparing our laws for the disruption of EU withdrawal. UK Ministers are given the power to make changes in devolved areas without the involvement of devolved institutions; and devolved ministers and legislatures are given only limited powers to amend retained EU law, even in devolved areas.
The amendments which the Scottish and Welsh Governments jointly proposed would address the Bill's approach to the devolution settlements, giving Scottish Ministers and the Scottish Parliament their appropriate roles in the regrettable, but necessary, task of preparing our laws for the effects of EU withdrawal.