Harvie: Continuity Bill a necessary response to Brexit crisis

Green co-convener Patrick Harvie today reconfirmed his party’s support for the Scottish Parliament to create an EU Continuity Bill, calling it an “emergency response, to an emergency situation”.

Without it, Harvie says the UK government would be in a position to enforce its EU Withdrawal Bill on the Scottish Parliament, even though it currently lacks the support of Greens, or any party at Holyrood.

Earlier in the day, Patrick Harvie secured a commitment from Nicola Sturgeon that ministers will work constructively with opposition MSPs on amendments to improve the draft legislation.

Green MSPs confirmed today that they will work for the bill to include social and environmental protections.

Harvie, a Glasgow MSP said:

“If we don’t have this Scottish alternative to the EU Withdrawal Bill, we will leave the UK government in a position where they will be able to force an unacceptable Bill on the Scottish Parliament, fatally undermining the devolution settlement. The UK government is at war with itself, incompetent and in the grip of delusional hard right ideologues and they are willing to put their own interests ahead of the national interests, even if it inflicts serious damage on the economy and even put peace in Ireland at risk.

“Their Bill is a direct assault on devolution and the UK government has missed too many opportunities to fix it. MSPs must now take responsibility for taking forward legislation which safeguards our legislation, including social and environmental protections, protects the devolution settlement and ensures that parliament is in control of the process.

“There can be no doubt that this is an emergency situation and the Bill must be treated under the emergency procedures, but we must maximise the scrutiny which is possible within the time available. However, parliamentary control must mean the majority in the Scottish Parliament – not the minority governments in Edinburgh or London.

“We will also take action to improve this Bill and we will hold the SNP to the First Minister’s commitment to work constructively with opposition proposals to improve it. Caroline Lucas worked with opposition MPs from Labour, SNP and LibDems at Westminster to seek improvements to the UK Bill and we are determined to ensure that that Scottish Bill is consistent with the demand for a more democratic and accountable process.”