SCOTTISH Minister Michael Russell last night delivered a stinging response to claims by the UK Government that it respects “the spirit and the letter of the devolution settlement” as it presses ahead with Brexit without consent from the devolved administrations.

The Constitutional Relations Secretary said the Tories were instead “ripping up the rules meant to protect the Scottish Parliament” and that the Scottish Government strongly contested the claims made in letters sent to Scottish and Welsh ministers.

Addressing the devolved administrations’ refusal to give legislative consent to Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal, the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, Steve Barclay, wrote that he recognised the “significant role” played by the legislative consent process.

READ MORE: Northern Ireland Assembly votes to withhold Brexit bill consent

He claimed that despite the Sewel Convention holding that the UK Government should “not normally” press ahead without legislative consent motions from devolved administrations, the circumstances of the UK’s departure from the EU are “specific, singular and exceptional”.

Earlier this month, MSPs voted by 92 votes to 29 to reject Johnson’s Withdrawal Agreement Bill, while Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford has urged assembly members to vote it down when it comes to the Senedd.

Members of the newly restored Stormont Assembly in Belfast are also expected to reject the deal.

Barclay said in his letter to Russell: “I am disappointed that you do not feel in a position to recommend legislative consent to the Scottish Parliament. I am also disappointed that the Scottish Parliament voted not to give consent, particularly with the bill at such an early stage in its parliamentary process. Both through significant engagement on the bill and the changes we have made to accommodate your concerns, we have at every stage respected the spirit and the letter of the devolution settlement.”

Barclay added although the UK Government would be proceeding with the legislation despite not having the consent of the devolved administrations, it would “continue to work to address your concerns.”

Russell said: “Throughout the Brexit process, the UK Government has ignored the wishes of the people of Scotland, votes in the Scottish Parliament and the views of the Scottish Government. The Tories have used Brexit to launch a power grab on Holyrood and Steve Barclay is now making it clear they are ripping up the rules that are meant to protect the Scottish Parliament so they can impose a hard Brexit.”

He added: “By the end of tomorrow it is highly likely all three of the devolved legislatures in the UK will have refused consent to this disastrous Brexit Bill.

“If Boris Johnson presses ahead it will demonstrate once again his contempt for devolution and the idea of the UK as a partnership of equals.

“We strongly contest the assertions made in this letter and will reply to the UK Government in full.”