CONSTITUTION Secretary Angus Robertson has called on the UK Government to withdraw the bill that seeks to revoke a large swathe of retained EU laws after the Scottish Parliament voted to withhold its consent.

The Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill would automatically scrap 1000s of EU laws that were retained post-Brexit, unless they are specifically replaced, revoked, restated or updated by UK Government ministers before the end of 2023.

The Scottish Government has previously expressed concerns about the bill, saying that its “deregulatory agenda” poses risks to environmental protections, food standards, animal welfare and worker’s rights.

The bill is currently being scrutinised in the House of Lords.

However, today MSPs voted to refuse legislative consent with Robertson claiming that the UK Government’s reaction to this will be a “key test” of its respect for devolution.

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He said: “The Scottish Government and a number of key organisations across a range of sectors have many concerns about the bill and we have repeatedly called on the UK Government to withdraw it.

“Firstly, it risks deregulation and threatens the high standards the people of Scotland experienced and benefited from as an EU member state for over 47 years. Secondly, the bill includes powers for UK Ministers to act in areas of devolved responsibility without the consent of Scottish Ministers or this Parliament.

“This is clearly unacceptable and how the UK Government reacts will be a key test of whether or not they intend to continue to ride roughshod over devolution. Thirdly, the bill includes a ‘cliff-edge’ sunset provision, which could see thousands of laws wiped overnight.

The National:

“I am pleased colleagues across the Scottish Parliament have voted to withhold consent for the bill and I urge the UK Government to scrap it entirely. If the UK Government are intent on a race to the bottom that will impact standards across the UK, we have published a series of updated amendments to the bill to mitigate the worst of its impacts.”

Senior figures in the European Union have previously warned that scrapping the laws could result in a trade war, with the European Commission preparing its own “rebalancing measures” that include the option of imposing tariffs on UK goods entering the EU.