Holyrood’s Finance and Constitution Committee is not in a position to recommend legislative consent to the EU Withdrawal Bill, says a parliamentary report published today.
The unanimous view of the Committee is that Clause 11 of the Bill, as currently drafted, is incompatible with the devolution settlement in Scotland.
The committee adds that even if Clause 11 is designed to be a transitional measure it fails to respect fully the devolution settlement.
The cross-party committee of MSPs has, therefore, concluded it will not be in a position to recommend legislative consent for the Bill unless Clause 11 is replaced or removed.
Bruce Crawford MSP, Convener of the Finance and Constitution Committee said: “The committee is unanimous in its view that it is not in a position to recommend Legislative Consent to the EU Withdrawal Bill.
“The whole committee is of the view that Clause 11, as currently drafted, is incompatible with the devolution settlement in Scotland.
“This view was shared by the vast majority of expert evidence we received on Clause 11 as it represents a fundamental shift in the structure of devolution in Scotland.
“The Committee also believes that a resolution to Clause 11 is required regardless of whether a way forward on Common Frameworks can be arrived at.”
On the use of ‘common frameworks’ to bring about regulatory convergence and policy harmonisation across the UK, Mr Crawford added:
“We welcome the commitment from the UK Government that common frameworks will not be imposed. Our committee strongly believes that both the process for agreeing common frameworks and the actual content must be arrived at through agreement, not imposition. We also believe that this process is not solely a matter for governments and must be transparent and inclusive.”
Deputy Convener Adam Tomkins MSP said:
“All of the committee welcomes the progress that has been made between the UK Government and the devolved governments in developing an approach to agreeing common UK frameworks and notes that this work is on-going.
“In particular, members welcome the UK Government’s commitment to respect the devolution settlement.”
The Bill has completed the Committee Stage at the House of Commons and Report Stage will be on 16 and 17 January 2018. The Bill will then be considered by the House of Lords.
While some amendments were agreed at Committee Stage which may be relevant to the Committee’s consideration of the LCM, the Committee has not yet had the opportunity to consider those. This interim report details the Committee’s view on the Bill as introduced.
There have been no amendments made to Clause 11 of the Bill during Committee Stage.
The Finance and Constitution Committee notes, however, that the Secretary of State for Scotland has indicated that the UK Government intends to table amendments to Clause 11.
The committee will produce a final report on the Bill prior to the final amending stage in the House of Lords.
Read the report
European Union (Withdrawal) Bill LCM – Interim Report