September 12, 2017 / 1:53 PM / 6 months ago

Scottish government recommends not backing EU withdrawal bill in devolved parliament

EDINBURGH (Reuters) - Scotland’s devolved government has recommended that its parliament at Holyrood withhold consent for legislation to withdraw Britain from the European Union, on the grounds that it would water down their powers.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon speaks on the 20th anniversary of Scotland voting to establish its own Parliament, in Edinburgh, Britain, September 11, 2017. REUTERS/Russell Cheyne

The approval of the devolved parliaments does not represent a veto to the Brexit process, although it would stretch Britain’s constitutional tensions yet further by forcing the UK government to ignore the expressed wish of the devolved bodies.

“Along with the Welsh government, the Scottish government

cannot recommend to the parliament that it gives consent to the Bill as currently drafted,” a document filed with the Scottish parliament said.

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has been arguing that Brexit as proposed flies in the face of the devolution agreement, which allows assemblies in Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast to legislate on domestic policies such as health and education.

Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to keep EU membership in June 2016, while England and Wales voted to leave.

Reporting by Elisabeth O'Leary; editing by Stephen Addison

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