Scotland rejects key Brexit bill sparking fears of constitutional crisis

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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.

Over the summer the Supreme Court is also due to decide on the legality of the Continuity Bill, Scotland's version of the EU Withdrawal Bill, after a challenge by the UK Government.

A Labour amendment calling for "cross-party talks in an attempt to broker an agreed way forward" was accepted, and Scottish Brexit minister Mike Russell said he would invite United Kingdom ministers to "hear the concerns of all parties" and to discuss "any new ideas".

- What is legislative consent and why does it matter anyway?

A year ago the Supreme Court ruled that the well established convention of Westminster not normally making laws in devolved areas is merely a political convention, which is not legally enforceable.

The UK voted as a whole to leave the European Union in June 2016, but Scotland voted to remain. However even if Holyrood votes to refuse consent, Westminster can still go ahead and introduce the legislation anyway.

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Bruce Crawford, the head of the Parliament's Finance and Constitution Committee, said the vote was a "historic and significant" moment for Scotland and that he hoped the government in London would "respect the views" of the assembly.

The Scottish Parliament and Westminster have been at loggerheads for months over how to manage European Union powers that will return to Britain after Brexit, including over state aid for industry, genetically modified crops policy, fishing quotas and farm subsidies, after ministers in London made a series of concessions brokered by the Scottish Conservatives.

But the SNP argues that in its current state, the bill could mean that the powers of the Scottish parliament could be changed by the British government without the consent of the parliament for the first time ever.

Tomkins insisted the UK Government had moved to "accommodate fair concerns raised by all parties in Scotland".

Devolution is thrust into uncharted territory, with the very real possibility that Westminster could not pass legislation against the express wishes of Holyrood for the first time since the Edinburgh Parliament was set up in 1999.

Nicola Sturgeon has been accused of attempting to create a constitutional crisis to drum up support for a second independence referendum after MSPs voted overwhelmingly to withhold consent for the EU Withdrawal Bill.

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