Kezia Dugdale confirmed her MSPs would be ordered to oppose triggering Article 50
The Scottish Labour leader confirmed her MSPs would be ordered to oppose triggering Article 50 in today’s symbolic Holyrood ballot.
It puts Ms Dugdale at odds with UK Labour leader Mr Corbyn who has been rocked by a rebellion of MPs.
The party’s only Scottish MP Ian Murray was among 47 Remainers to defy him to vote against the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill.
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Despite abandoning plans for what could have been claimed as a “binding vote”, Nicola Sturgeon insists the debate is one of the “most significant” since devolution.
The UK is leaving the European Union, but there is no reason why [we] should not give a voice to the wishes of the vast majority of Scottish people
Kezia Dugdale – Leader Scottish Labour
The Scottish Government motion argues that UK ministers have “set out no provision for effective consultation with the devolved administrations on reaching an agreed UK approach to the negotiations on implementing Article 50”.
It adds that the UK Government “has refused to give a guarantee on the position of EU nationals in the UK, has left unanswered a range of detailed questions covering many policy areas regarding the full implications of withdrawal from the single market, and has provided no assurance that a future parliamentary vote on the outcome of the negotiations will be anything other than irrelevant”.
Dugdale says her party wanted to send a 'clear message' it does not support a 'hard Brexit'
Labour has tabled an amendment calling on the SNP not to use Brexit as an excuse for a second independence referendum even though there is no specific reference to another poll in the motion. If this falls, the party is expected to back the government.
Labour MSPs will be whipped, meaning any rebels face disciplinary action – though just one, Elaine Smith, has previously publicly endorsed a Leave vote.
Ms Dudgale insisted her party accepted last June’s UK wide referendum result but wanted to send a “clear message” it does not support a “hard Brexit”.
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She added: “The UK is leaving the European Union, but there is no reason why Scottish Labour and the Scottish Parliament should not give a voice to the wishes of the vast majority of Scottish people.”
The First Minister promised to give MSPs a say over Article 50 despite last month’s Supreme Court ruling that the UK Government is “not legally compelled” to consult Holyrood.
Last week she dropped plans for a legislative consent motion and instead opted for a standard parliamentary motion, followed by a symbolic ballot.
'This is one of the most significant votes in the history of the Scottish Parliament' says Sturgeon
Ms Sturgeon said Scots “will be right to start thinking about how our national interests are best served” if the UK Government ignores the vote.
She added: “This is one of the most significant votes in the history of the Scottish Parliament since devolution.
“It has never been the case that the Scottish Parliament or any of the devolved legislatures had a veto over Brexit – but this vote is far more than symbolic.
“It is a key test of whether Scotland’s voice is being listened to and whether our wishes can be accommodated within the UK process.”
But Scottish Tory chief whip John Lamont dismissed her comments “bizarre” after last week’s U-turn.
He added: “Most people want a government that is focussed on improving education, supporting the NHS, and backing a growing economy.
“Yet for the First Minister the most significant issue in her in-box is to use Brexit to manufacture a case for independence.”
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Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in pictures.
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Nicola Sturgeon visits Glaxo Smith Kline.
A UK Government spokesman said: “The Scottish Parliament is free to debate any issue it chooses, and indeed has discussed Brexit on many occasions.
“Scotland’s 59 MPs will scrutinise and vote on the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill, which relates to reserved matters under the devolution settlement.
“The UK Government will continue our engagement with the Scottish Government and with people and groups across Scotland as we prepare to leave the EU to secure the best deal for Scotland and the UK.”
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