Last week saw the UK Government’s unveiling of the EU Withdrawal Bill – or ‘Great Repeal Bill’ – which failed to commit any powers returning from Brussels after Brexit to the Scottish Parliament.
Currently, certain powers in areas such as farming are collaborated on in Brussels as part of the shared European market place. Last year, the Vote Leave campaign promised Scottish voters that Brexit would mean more powers to the Scottish Parliament – with agriculture being one such policy area that would see even further devolution.
However, the ‘Great Repeal Bill’ has been heavily criticised as a ‘Westminster Power Grab’ as it offers no further powers to the Scottish Parliament. Powers returning from Brussels in areas that are already devolved will go directly to Westminster under the Bill’s proposals.
Stirling’s newly-elected Tory MP, Stephen Kerr, was involved in the campaign to leave the European Union in the run-up to the EU Referendum last year. Since being elected to the House of Commons, Mr Kerr has consistently backed Theresa May’s hard Brexit approach to leaving the European Union despite 67.7% of the constituency he represents voting to Remain in the EU.
SNP Finance and Economy spokesperson on Stirling Council, Councillor Alison Laurie has called on Mr Kerr to put the majority wishes of his constituents before his party’s extreme approach to Brexit.
Commenting, Councillor Laurie said:
“Alongside SNP colleagues, I campaigned passionately to remain in the European Union last year as it was clear that access to the European Single Market is the best way to support local businesses and local jobs in the Stirling area.
“Brexit came from a government that Scotland did not elect, through a referendum that it did not want, and a result that we did not vote for. It is unacceptable that the UK-wide leave result is being used as an excuse for Westminster to grab powers that would otherwise be devolved to the Scottish Parliament.
“Stirling’s Brexiteer MP kept his leanings on this matter quiet throughout the General Election campaign this year, however, he now represents a constituency that voted to Remain by almost 70%. It is vital that he puts the people he is supposed to speak for before his party and campaigns for a much softer Brexit – with access to the European Single Market – and for all new powers in areas that are devolved to be brought to the Scottish Parliament.
“To continue to relentlessly back a hard-line, right-wing and toxic Tory Brexit would be an affront to the democratic wishes of his constituency.”