Friday, 18 Sep 2020

Sturgeon defied Westminster over key Brexit law for her own agenda to ‘look disrespected’

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Tory MP David Mundell claims Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who continues to use Brexit to call for Scottish independence, deliberately defied Westminster over the EU Withdrawal Bill to create a bad impression of the UK Government. It would mean she was able to push on with her case to rip Scotland from the Union, he said.

The former Secretary of State for Scotland, told The Herald Ms Sturgeon wanted the Brexit law to “be passed without consent” by Westminster because it created “impression of disrespect” of the Scottish Government.

He said the SNP leader rejected the “deal on the table” back in 2018, which put the UK on the brink of a major constitutional crisis because the outcome created a “circumstance she wanted”.

The Scottish Parliament voted by 93 to 30 to withhold “legislative consent” for the EU Withdrawal Bill – the first time Holyrood has ever refused consent to a piece of Westminster legislation which was imposed anyway, without its consent, since 1991.

Mr Mundell, said: “I think the Scottish government wanted the EU Withdrawal Act to be passed without consent. That was the outcome they wanted.

“There was a deal on the table, they didn’t accept that deal. The Welsh government accepted a deal, and the Scottish government took the deal back to the First Minister of Scotland and she rejected it.

“In my view, and I’m not pretending to be objective, that was a circumstance she wanted.

“She wanted to create an impression of disrespect of the Scottish government.

“I think it would have been perfectly possible to have reached agreement, and at the start I thought we would be able to reach agreement, but by the end of the process I did not think we’d be able to reach agreement.

“We were only able to get that legislation through because we got agreement in the House of Lords where there was a recognition that the stance taken by the Scottish government was an entirely political one.

“It wasn’t based on reason, having debated the minutiae of that for hours.”

But SNP MP George Adam hit back, insisting the Brexit law was a “blatantpower grab” by Westminster.

He added: “A Scottish Tory accusing anyone of disrespect is an absolute belter.

“Remember in 2014 when Mr Mundell’s party promised a No vote meant Scotland would not only stay inside the EU but would also be an equal partner in the UK?

“The EU Withdrawal Act is a blatant power-grab by Westminster on Holyrood and it was rejected by every party in Holyrood apart from the Tories.”

Ms Sturgeon stepped up her campaign to drag Scotland out of the Union when Britons voted to unshackle from the Brussels bloc in a Brexit referendum in June 2016.

The SNP has insisted Scotland is on course for a second independence referendum following next year’s Holyrood elections and when the UK leaves the bloc.

Ms Sturgeon has said the move would allow Scotland to leave the UK and rejoin the EU on its own.

The SNP leader believes Scots are being “dragged” out of the bloc against their will.

In its white paper on independence, the SNP government said Scotland would look to gain membership through Article 48 of the treaty of the EU.

If the country left the UK, it would theoretically be free to join the bloc.

Ms Sturgeon’s paper has argued that Scotland could join the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and the European Economic Area (EEA) as a means of gaining full access to the single market if the UK sponsored it.

Scotland meets the EU’s membership requirements and could be ushered through the normal application process quickly, according to experts on the issue.

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