EU Withdrawal Bill is an attack on democracy says MP

Motherwell and Wishaw MP Marion Fellows
Motherwell and Wishaw MP Marion Fellows

Motherwell and Wishaw MSP Marion Fellows has accused the Westminster Government of attempting to undermine democracy as the UK moves towards leaving the European Union.

The Government’s EU Withdrawal Bill passed its second of three readings in Parliament on Monday night by 326 votes to 290.

If the Bill is passed Ministers would be empowered to make changes in devolved policy areas without the involvement of the Scottish Parliament or the Welsh and Northern Irish Assemblies.

The UK Government alone would control of the scope and extent of any UK-wide frameworks required to replace EU laws following Brexit.

It would also allow UK Ministers to make decisions over Brexit without parliamentary scrutiny or votes known as ‘Henry VIII Powers’.

Mrs Fellows, who joined all her SNP colleagues in voting against the Bill, said: “The UK Government’s Withdrawal Bill is the biggest Westminster power grab in decades which undermines the very principles of our democracy.

“Rather than building a consensus between people across the UK, the UK Government is trying to seize power for themselves, a small Cabinet, which will dictate to the public, Parliament and devolved institutions what Brexit will look like.

“They will not only be able to dictate the terms of Brexit, but the Bill would give the UK Government greater powers in the long term which would trample on the hard-won sovereign rights of the Scottish Parliament.

“It is symbolic that this Bill passes 20 years on from the votes that formed the Scottish Parliament. Rather than strengthen devolved institutions and respect their sovereign rights, the UK Government is riding roughshod over Scotland and Parliament to make the UK Government the iron fist of a post-Brexit UK.

“The SNP and others demand fairness and scrutiny in Brexit – not a right wing power grab from the Tories. We must put the rights of devolved institutions, our economy and jobs first.”