Scottish government urged to cast aside Brexit 'bickering'

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The devolved Edinburgh legislature voted by 93 votes to 30 to deny consent for the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, now going through the national parliament in London, which will cut political, financial and legal ties with the EU. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, whose pro-independence Scottish National Party runs the semi-autonomous government in Edinburgh, vowed straight away to contest Brexit by holding another vote on breaking away from the rest of the United Kingdom.

The SNP said after the vote that the Conservative government at Westminster should make changes to the EU Withdrawal Bill to address the concerns of the Scottish parliament. Welsh finance secretary Mark Drakeford said "this is a deal we can work with which has required compromise on both sides", and the Welsh Assembly is expected to approve the agreement today. The Scottish Government has said it can't accept it without amendments.

Mundell told the BBC's Good Morning Scotland: "There did seem to be a fundamental misunderstanding among numerous MSPs [about] what this bill is about".

At issue is a bitter dispute between Westminster and Holyrood over powers now held by Brussels, which the SNP wants devolved after Brexit. "It becomes a bigger issue at the point when the bill is completing its passage through Westminster".

The Scottish Government argues that all powers not now reserved to Westminster should automatically be devolved.

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What is the "power grab" row about?

The row centres on a set of powers which are technically devolved to the Scottish Parliament, but which are now decided at Brussels to ensure rules and regulations are the same across the EU.

It says the "temporary restriction" on the devolved governments passing laws in these areas was needed "to help ensure an orderly departure from European Union law" and allow the same rules to remain in place across the whole of the UK.

But the UK Government wants to temporarily retain some of the returning powers, so it can create common UK-wide frameworks. The U.K. can disregard the vote, but it would be the first time London asserts its dominance over the regional parliament.

The UK government has the authority to simply impose the Brexit legislation on Scotland, "even if that is politically problematic [as] it would overturn 20 years of constitutional convention and precedent", she added.

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