Could Scotland block Brexit?

Posted in Devolution UK and EU legal framework

Following calls for a further referendum on Scottish independence in light of the vote to leave the European Union, a question has arisen as to whether the Scottish Parliament could block the UK’s departure in any event.

The issue is whether the Scottish Parliament would be required to pass a legislative consent motion, under what is known as the Sewel Convention, to approve the UK Parliament legislating to leave the EU. This provides that The UK parliament will not normally legislate with regard to devolved matters in Scotland without the consent of the Scottish parliament. Section 29 of the Scotland Act 1998 requires the Scottish Parliament to act in accordance with EU law and would therefore require amendment in the event of leaving the EU. Similar provisions are also contained within the devolution agreements for Wales and Northern Ireland.

However, section 28(7) of the Scotland Act makes clear that it does not affect the power of Westminster to make laws for Scotland and members of the SNP have since played down the suggestion that the Scottish Parliament has the power of a veto.

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