EU Withdrawal Bill power grab: what you need to know

By , 12/06/18

This week the House of Commons will debate the EU Withdrawal Bill.


Some powers carried out at EU level – like support for farmers, control of our seas or food standards – fall within areas that have been the responsibility of Holyrood since 1999.



The EU Withdrawal Bill makes a grab for these powers, returning them to Westminster not Holyrood.


SNP MPs will vote to protect the devolution settlement that people in Scotland overwhelmingly voted for in 1997.


Here’s what you need to know.


❌ The Tory government refuses to remove the power grab.


The UK government has proposed amendments that would mean Westminster could constrain Holyrood’s powers for up to seven years.


Over this period, the UK government will tie Holyrood’s hands without the Scottish Parliament’s explicit consent.


❌ Labour amendments could leave Holyrood powerless if the Tories tried to implement trade deals: leaving the door open to TTIP2.


Labour has proposed amendments that would mean Westminster could constrain Holyrood’s powers for up to five years.


Over this period, the UK government could freeze devolved powers if the Tories believe that’s  required to give effect to international obligations.


This means that if the Tories signed up to a US trade deal that required a lowering of food standards or that opened our NHS up to privatisation, Holyrood could do nothing about it.


In short, Labour have left the door open to TTIP2 - putting our public NHS at risk.


✅ SNP amendments would respect the devolution settlement and the overwhelming will of the Scottish Parliament.


The SNP amendments would remove the UK government’s ability to restrict the Scottish Parliament’s powers.


This would respect the vote of the Scottish Parliament, backed by all parties expect the Tories, to oppose the power grab.  


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