Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said that the country could block the UK’s exit from the EU by vetoing it.
She said that Members of the Scottish Parliament would refuse to give ‘legislative consent’ for the break-off from the union during and interview with BBC’s Sunday Politics Scotland programme.
Scotland is told it won’t be able to stay in the EU after BrexitShe said: ‘he issue you are talking about is would there have to be a legislative consent motion or motions for the legislation that extricates the UK from the European Union? ‘Looking at it from a logical perspective, I find it hard to believe that there wouldn’t be that requirement – I suspect that the UK government will take a very different view on that and we’ll have to see where that discussion ends up.’
She added: ‘If the Scottish Parliament was judging this on the basis of what’s right for Scotland then the option of saying look we’re not to vote for something that’s against Scotland’s interest, of course that’s got to be on the table.’
However, Scottish Conservative MSP and law professor Adam Tomkins said that MSPs had ‘no such power’.
He tweeted: ‘Lots of nonsense on here about Holyrood having power to block or veto Brexit. It has no such power.’
‘Holyrood has the power to show or to withhold its consent. But withholding consent is not the same as blocking.’
‘If it is the case that looking again at the question of independence becomes the only way in which we can protect Scotland’s interests, then that is a debate and a conversation and a decision that the people of Scotland have a right to take.’
The SNP’s manifesto for May’s Holyrood election said the Scottish Parliament should have the right to hold another vote on independence if there is a ‘significant and material’ change in the circumstances from 2014, when the previous vote was held. Ms Sturgeon stressed that another referendum ‘is not going to be a re-run of the 2014 referendum’, adding that the ‘context and circumstances have changed dramatically’.
She said: ‘The UK that Scotland voted to remain within in 2014 doesn’t exist any more and this is a case of how do we best protect the stability and the interests of Scotland.’
The First Minister continued: ‘The Scottish Cabinet met yesterday and I’m not suggesting for a second that the path ahead is without complexity or it is easy. The Scottish Cabinet has decided and made clear that in the days, weeks and months to come we are going to seek discussions with the European institutions, with other member states, to explore all options for giving effect to the democratic will of the Scottish people.
‘That is how I’m going to proceed and my guiding principle is the best interests of Scotland, protecting what Scotland voted for.’
She added: ‘We’re in unchartered territory, not because of choices Scotland has made but because of choices that have been made elsewhere.’
Ms Sturgeon said: ‘I have a job to do to protect Scotland and to negotiate the best way forward for Scotland. I look on at what’s happening in Westminster just now with a sense of utter despair on behalf of people across England and other parts of the UK, as that vacuum of leadership, both in the Tories and Labour, develops.
‘But what I’m absolutely clear about is there is no vacuum of leadership in Scotland, as First Minister I’m going to do everything I possibly can to prevent Scotland being taken out of the European Union because the consequences of allowing us to do so would be devastating.’