Harvie pledges amendments to EU Continuity Bill to ensure democratic oversight, safeguard the environment

Patrick Harvie MSP, Co-convener of the Scottish Greens, today (7 Mar) pledged that his party will bring forward amendments to the Scottish Government's EU Continuity Bill to ensure democratic oversight, safeguard the environment and maintain high standards of animal welfare.

Ahead of this afternoon's Stage One debate and vote on the principles of the Bill, Mr Harvie revealed that the Scottish Greens are looking to lodge amendments to:

  • Stop major changes to Scots law slipping through without scrutiny, for example by means of a ‘sifting committee’ to check proposed changes

  • Ensure Parliament has an ‘emergency brake’ if it feels the government is making inappropriate changes to the law

  • Explicitly enshrine some EU principles that arise from treaties, such as the precautionary principle which helps protect the environment and public health

  • Incorporate animal welfare and animal sentience protections

Patrick Harvie MSP said:

"The Continuity Bill is a necessary response to the Brexit crisis which the Tories have created. But we must ensure it receives sufficient scrutiny and that Scotland continues to prioritise democratic oversight, environmental protection and animal welfare, all of which would be wrecked by a Tory-led race-to-the-bottom.

"The amendments we're looking at would prevent Scottish Ministers copying the approach of the UK Government who want to use extraordinary new powers to avoid parliamentary approval of changes to the law. Holyrood should have a stronger system of safeguards to ensure any changes are agreed by the parliament’s majority, not the government’s minority.

"The Scottish Greens are clear that when powers over devolved areas transfer from Europe we must maintain hard-won rights and protections for the environment and animals. We will engage constructively on these issues as this Bill proceeds."