EDINBURGH/LONDON (Reuters) – The British government appealed to the Supreme Court on Tuesday to rule on whether or not Brexit payments handed final month by the Scottish and Welsh parliaments have been constitutionally sound, arguing that they might trigger authorized confusion.
The legislatures in Edinburgh and Cardiff handed the payments to attempt to make sure they maintain all their present powers after Britain leaves the European Union, arguing that the nationwide parliament’s personal Brexit laws risked eroding these powers.
The central government’s referral to the Supreme Court, which means that London thinks Edinburgh and Cardiff might have gone past their devolved powers in passing their Brexit payments, represents an escalation of an already thorny dispute.
The government in London says the Scottish and Welsh payments cowl related floor to laws at the moment going by means of the nationwide parliament, however with important variations.
“This legislation risks creating serious legal uncertainty for individuals and businesses as we leave the EU,” Attorney General Jeremy Wright, the UK government’s chief lawyer, mentioned in a press release.
He mentioned the referral to the Supreme Court was a protecting measure within the public curiosity, and he hoped the difficulty could be resolved with out the necessity to proceed with the litigation.
The Scottish government, run by the Scottish National Party (SNP) which fiercely opposes the Conservative Party in energy in London, mentioned it was happy that the invoice handed within the Edinburgh parliament was inside legislative competence.
“Our Continuity Bill is an important and necessary piece of legislation to prepare Scotland’s laws for Brexit while protecting the powers of the Scottish parliament that people voted for,” mentioned Scottish Brexit minister Michael Russell.
Powers that are at the moment devolved to Edinburgh and Cardiff, similar to over agriculture, fisheries and meals requirements and labelling – administered for the time being from Brussels as a result of they fall inside EU frameworks – will come again to the nationwide parliament as soon as Britain leaves the EU.
Edinburgh and Cardiff accuse the British government of what they name a power-grab to maintain these powers in London, and are urgent for adjustments to the Brexit laws going by means of the nationwide parliament to forestall that from taking place.
Should they not safe these adjustments, the payments handed final month are supposed to behave as a backstop.
The central government denies any energy seize is afoot.
Russell mentioned the SNP government would argue on the Supreme Court that “it is within the powers of the Scottish parliament to prepare for the consequences for devolved matters of UK withdrawal from the European Union”.
An SNP lawmaker denounced the referral to the Supreme Court as interference by the Conservatives, or Tories.
“Scotland’s parliament made its voice clear, passing the bill by 95 votes to 32. And yet, the Tories still, arrogantly, think they alone have the right to strike it down,” mentioned Ivan McKee.
Reporting by Elisabeth O’Leary and Estelle Shirbon; enhancing by Stephen Addison