Conservatives to progress Withdrawal Bill despite lack of support

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Westminster has been urged to "respect the will" of the Scottish Parliament and make further changes to key Brexit legislation, after MSPs refused to give their consent to the EU Withdrawal Bill.

Michael Russell, the Scottish government's chief Brexit negotiator, said any attempt to use Brexit to restrict the powers of the Scottish parliament "will be noted here and across Europe".

Richard Leonard, Scottish Labour leader, who has been calling for cross party talks to resolve the dispute, said: "This means that the vote on consent for the Withdrawal Bill at Holyrood today need not be the final word on this matter - there is still time to fix this mess".

The Scottish parliament has voted against Theresa May's Brexit legislation by a large margin, putting the United Kingdom on the brink of a major constitutional dispute.

Welsh and Scottish ministers were working together against the bill before the deal - and the Scottish government remains opposed.

The prime minister briefed Conservative backbenchers on Monday about the two options her ministers are considering: a customs partnership which see Britain collecting tariffs on behalf of the EU; and a combination of technological and administrative measures created to diminish friction on a UK-EU customs border.

Imposing powers on Scotland would be unprecedented and fuel Sturgeon's demands for a second independence referendum, potentially providing the Scottish National party with a further justification for staging one.

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Members of the Scottish National Party, the Labor Party, the Liberal Democrats and Scottish Greens showed a rare unity, approving the proposal of the Scottish government to reject the European Union withdrawal bill.

"But we would appeal to Scottish Labour and Scottish Liberal Democrat MSPs to think hard before siding with the nationalists".

In February, the United Kingdom government said it had made a "considerable" offer, which would see the vast majority of those powers returning to Cardiff, Edinburgh and Belfast while the rest temporarily stayed in London. SNP member of the Scottish parliament (MSP) Christina McKelvie said on Tuesday that clause 11 would allow Ms May's government to start dismantling the devolution framework on which the Scottish parliament is based. "We are going to push on with this", one said.

The Scottish Tories called on Labour and the Liberal Democrats to join with them in supporting the legislation rather than siding with the SNP.

"I'm not sure independence will ever be off the table until it is realised", Sturgeon said on Monday.

Scottish Greens co-convener Patrick Harvie said MSPs needed to stand against Theresa May and Ruth Davidson's "devolution demolition squad".

Ahead of the debate, a report from the assembly's external affairs committee said its six objectives for improving the bill had still not been met in full, despite the progress made.

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