Date Set For MSPs To Vote On UK Government's Brexit Plan

A date has been set for MSPs to vote on the UK Government's Bill to trigger Article 50 which will take the country out of the European Union.

The vote has been arranged because the Scottish Government believes there has been "fundamental change'' to constitutional arrangements by triggering the formal withdrawal from the EU.

They say it has direct effects on the devolved responsibilities and Holyrood should be invited to give its view before the Bill is passed.

The Scottish Government also believes the UK Government should respect the views of the Scottish Parliament.

A motion will be lodged for debate on Tuesday February 7 enabling the Scottish Parliament to give its view on the UK Government's Bill.

One of Scotland's 59 MPs voted for the Bill triggering Article 50 and in the EU referendum 62% of Scots voted to remain in the EU.

The Scottish Government wants to ensure the Scottish Parliament's views are heard before the end of the committee stage in the House of Commons.

It has decided not to lodge a formal Legislative Consent Memorandum, but to put forward a motion determining the Parliament's view.

Michael Russell, Minister for UK Negotiations on Scotland's Place in Europe, said: "The people of Scotland did not vote for Brexit, and only one of the nation's 59 MPs has now backed the UK Government by voting for the triggering Article 50.

"It is now essential that the Scottish Parliament's views are heard prior to the end of the committee stage of the Article 50 Bill in the House of Commons, so we will lodge a motion to allow Parliament to express its view.

"A formal LCM would have to go through committee deliberation before Parliament as a whole was able to vote on it - a timetable incompatible with the accelerated timescale to which Westminster is now working.

"The Prime Minister has made numerous statements and commitments to Scotland that there would be an agreed UK-wide approach to Brexit. And the UK Government has now published a white paper which claims 'The UK Government acts in the interests of the whole UK'.

"Those claims will only be meaningful if the voice of Scotland's Parliament is respected. Triggering Article 50 will have profound impacts on devolved responsibilities and on the powers of the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish Government. It is therefore right that the Scottish Parliament expresses its view.

"When the motion is debated by MSPs next week it will be a chance for our national Parliament to send a powerful signal on behalf of the people we are elected to serve. And I believe that Parliament will send a resounding message that Scotland's future is in Europe.''

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