Lord Steel to raise Scots Brexit bill complaints in Lords

28 January 2018, 06:04 | Updated: 28 January 2018, 06:10


A Liberal Democrat peer has pledged to raise complaints about about key Brexit legislation "dragging EU powers back to Westminster rather than Edinburgh" when it comes before the Lords.

Lord Steel, a former Holyrood presiding officer said he had made a commitment on the matter to the Scottish Government's Brexit Minister Mike Russell.

The SNP's opposition to the House of Lords means it has no representatives there.

But the UK Government failed to bring amendments to the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill when it was before MPs in the the Commons means changes can only the Lords can make changes to the legislation - which has been branded a "power grab" by the Scottish Government.

Both the Scottish and Welsh administrations have said they can recommend consent be given to the Bill in its current form - with this view also echoed by cross party MSPs on Holyrood's Finance and Constitution Committee.

Lord Steel said: "Given that the SNP has no representatives in our legislative chamber, I have been in touch with their Brexit Minister, Michael Russell, to say that I shall put forward the complaint about the Bill currently dragging EU powers back to Westminster rather than Edinburgh."

The ex-Liberal Party leader said this was the view "not just of the SNP but of the Scottish Parliament as a whole".

He continued: "We were promised amendments in the Commons which did not materialise, and we should insist in the revising Chamber on putting this right.

"It is especially irritating that the Bill at present does not recognise the separate nature of Scots law, nor the fact that agriculture is wholly devolved to Scotland."