UK Government to challenge devolved Brexit legislation

17 April 2018, 09:36


The UK Government is to challenge Brexit legislation passed by the Scottish and Welsh devolved administrations.

Bills passed in the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly last month have been referred to the Supreme Court.

The decision has been taken by the Attorney General and the Advocate General for Scotland, the government's senior law officers.

The court is being asked to rule on whether the legislation is constitutional and within the powers of the devolved legislatures.

Attorney General Jeremy Wright QC MP said: "This legislation risks creating serious legal uncertainty for individuals and businesses as we leave the EU.

"This reference is a protective measure which we are taking in the public interest.

"The Government very much hopes this issue will be resolved without the need to continue with this litigation."

The Scottish and Welsh Governments brought forward the unprecedented legislation after a row with Westminster over the return of devolved powers from Brussels once Britain leaves the EU.

Ministers in both Cardiff and Edinburgh have repeatedly branded the UK Government's EU Withdrawal Bill a "power grab" which threatens devolution.

The Scottish Parliament's Presiding Officer has previously ruled the Scottish EU Continuity Bill is outside Holyrood's competence - although SNP ministers say they are confident it is not.