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Express: Nicola Sturgeon drafts in senior Scotland law officer to try and BLOCK Brexit

Date: 09 11 2016

NICOLA Sturgeon’s government is to join the legal battle over Brexit demanding Holyrood should have the power to block withdrawal from the European Union.

The First Minister has announced SNP administration will attempt to intervene in the Supreme Court case over Theresa May’s right to trigger the Article 50 divorce process.

Lord Advocate James Wolffe, Scotland’s most senior law officer, will lodge a formal application asking for leave to make representations in the controversial case.

Downing Street wants the Supreme Court to overturn last week’s High Court ruling that MPs should be polled on the process for ending Brussels rule.

If successful in joining opposition to the appeal, Mr Wolffe is expected to argue that Article 50 cannot be be triggered without MSPs getting a vote through a legislative consent motion.

Ms Sturgeon denied she was trying to infuriate the English and insisted it would impact on devolved responsibilities while depriving Scots of EU “rights and freedoms.”

But the move angered Europsceptics who warned her against trying to sabotage the UK-wide Leave vote.

Jack Montgomery, of Leave Means Leave, said: “Over a million Scots backed Brexit, with some fishing communities voting 2-1 in favour of leaving.

“They now find they have no voice in the Scottish Government, zero MPs on their side and only about half a dozen out of 129 MSPs.

“How strange to see the First Minister intervening on this on behalf of three English judges, so her MPs can stop a Brexit process which would transfer of huge number of powers from Brussels to the Scottish Parliament.”

The Welsh Government has already announced that it will apply to have a voice in the Article 50 appeal case, due to be heard early next month.

But the Supreme Court is not expected to deliver the ruling until early January threatening to throw the Prime Minister’s Brexit plans into disarray.

Speaking at her official residence, Bute House in Edinburgh, Ms Sturgeon said: “It simply cannot be right that those rights can be removed by the UK Government on the say-so of a Prime Minister without parliamentary debate, scrutiny or consent.

“So legislation should be required at Westminster and the consent of the Scottish Parliament should be sought before Article 50 is triggered.”

The First Minister added: “Let me be clear – I respect the right of England and Wales to leave the European Union. This is not an attempt to veto that process.

“But the democratic wishes of the people of Scotland and the national Parliament of Scotland cannot be brushed aside as if they do not matter.”

Scottish Labour backed Ms Sturgeon’s legal move but Scottish Tory constitution spokesman Adam Tomkins said: “It is important to remember that it was the UK as a whole that voted to leave the European Union in a referendum approved by an Act of Parliament, and we need to respect the result of that referendum.

“It is now up to the Supreme Court to decide whether the Lord Advocate will be granted permission to intervene, but in the meantime it is only right that the UK Government get on with the job of delivering the decision of the British people.”

SNP Brexit Minister Mike Russell is due in London tomorrow for another round of talks involving the UK Government and devolved administrations.

The Department for Exiting the European Union said it had strong grounds for appeal.

A spokesman added: “We have been clear that the result of the UK-wide referendum should be respected, and that no part of the UK can have a veto.

“However, we are determined to deliver a deal that works for the whole of the UK.

“We will continue to engage with the Scottish Government and look forward to further discussions in the Joint Ministerial Committee meeting tomorrow.”

November 9th, 2016: Express