SCOTTISH party leaders and politicians have responded after a Supreme Court ruling that the UK Government is “not legally compelled” to consult the devolved administrations before formally starting the Brexit process.
Alex Salmond, SNP international affairs spokesman at Westminster, said he hoped the Supreme Court verdict “brings this Tory government back to the reality that they cannot simply bypass elected parliamentarians to fulfil their role in carrying out due and proper scrutiny of one of the biggest decisions facing the UK”.
Although SNP MPs will seek to amend the Article 50 legislation, they are still expected to vote against it in the House of Commons.
Scottish Green Party co-convener Patrick Harvie said: “By recognising that Brexit will alter the powers of the Scottish Parliament but deciding that MSPs will have no say, the Supreme Court has made it clear today that Scotland is not an equal partner in the UK.”
He added: “Now we know that the Scottish Parliament won’t get a say, that the Scottish Government’s options paper is likely to be rejected and that a hard Brexit will cost around 80,000 jobs and a £2,000 drop in the average income in Scotland.
“It is hard to see any other option than putting the choice back in the hands of voters in Scotland, giving people the choice of an independent future in Europe, and rejecting the angry and isolated Britain the Tories are planning.”
Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson criticised “SNP stunts on Brexit”.
The Conservative MSP insisted: “The SNP tried to use this hearing to hold the rest of the UK to ransom. It has comprehensively failed to do so.”
While she said “all parties should now respect the ruling that the court has given”, Ms Davidson added that “typically Nicola Sturgeon has decided to ignore it by stating – even before the verdict was in – that she would still seek a separate vote at Holyrood”.
The Tory leader argued: “Whatever side people were on last year, Scotland wants to get on with the negotiations so we can start to leave the uncertainty of the last few years behind us.
“We have all had enough of the nationalists using every diversionary tactic they can to try to use Brexit to manufacture a case for separation.
“The SNP needs to decide does it want Britain’s renegotiation to succeed or fail?
“If it is the former, it needs to end the attempts to sow division and add to the uncertainty we face, and instead get behind the UK attempt to get the right deal for the whole UK.”
Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale made clear her party would not support any SNP attempts to hold another independence referendum.
Ms Dugdale said: “The Supreme Court has made its view clear and it’s right that the UK Parliament should get a vote on triggering Article 50. It’s clear now that this is a decision for the UK Parliament.
“Labour in the UK Parliament will seek to amend the Article 50 Bill to prevent the Conservatives using Brexit to turn Britain into a bargain basement tax haven off the coast of Europe.
“We will continue to work with the Scottish Government to get the best deal for Scotland within the UK.
“Both the SNP and the Conservatives are casting about for an expedient political position rather than working in the national interest.
“Unity cannot be achieved by a politics that sees one half of the country constantly facing off against the other.
“We are divided enough already. That’s why there will be no support from Scottish Labour for any SNP plan for a second independence referendum.”
Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said the ruling there must be a vote in Westminster ahead of triggering Article 50 “presents a huge opportunity for Parliament to agree to a Brexit deal referendum”.
He stated: “Liberal Democrats will vote against the triggering of Article 50 in Parliament unless there is a Brexit deal referendum that gives the British public a final say on the terms of Brexit.”