Today the Supreme Court handed down its judgment on the UK Withdrawal from the European Union (Legal Continuity) (Scotland) Bill. The Bill was passed by the Scottish Parliament in March of this year. In April the UK Government’s Law Officers referred the legislation to the Supreme Court for a ruling on whether it is within devolved legislative competence.
As I stated when the Bill was referred to the Supreme Court, given the view of the Presiding Officer that the continuity Bill was not within the legal competence of the Scottish Parliament, it was right to seek clarity. The reference was simply in line with the processes provided for in the Scotland Act 1998, which anticipated such situations occurring.
And so I am grateful to the Supreme Court for examining the issues here and for providing greater clarity. This is not simply a question of where constitutional powers lie, important as those questions are. Greater clarity was needed to ensure that our statute book functions properly and that the law is clear for businesses and individuals.
The UK Government thank the Court for its time in considering this case.
The Court’s judgment that significant parts of the Bill are outside the competence of the Scottish Parliament shows that the UK Government was right to refer the Bill to the Supreme Court. We will now carefully review the Court’s judgment.
We want to continue to work with the Scottish Government to provide much needed clarity for businesses and individuals in Scotland. This has been our aim throughout this process.
I have always been clear that it is in the best interests of the people of Scotland for the UK and Scottish Governments’ to work together as we leave the EU.
This remains my commitment and this will continue following this judgment.