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As if the divisions within the cabinet over Brexit weren't trouble enough for the Prime Minister, a vote in the Scottish parliament today has paved the way for a potential constitutional crisis.

David Mundell said he was frustrated and disappointed after Holyrood decided by a large majority to withhold its consent to the European Union bill because it could allow United Kingdom ministers to impose policies on Scotland without Holyrood's agreement.

The independence-minded Scottish National Party (SNP), which runs the minority government in Holyrood, Edinburgh, said it would be "outrageous" if the British government imposed the bill on Scotland. 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.

However, this has never happened before, taking the country into uncharted constitutional territory.

The Scottish Parliament passed its own version of Brexit legislation, called the Continuity Bill, in March by a margin of 95 to 32 to ensure it retains control of areas that are now devolved after Britain formally leaves the EU.

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"The Government has completely redrafted this bit of the Withdrawal Bill in order to accommodate the sensitivity that actually these powers will, in the end, come to the Scottish Parliament".

However, Scottish Government Brexit minister Michael Russell has put forward a motion stating that Holyrood will refuse permission for the changes on the grounds it would "constrain the legislative and executive competence of the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government".

"If this government forces through the legislation without the consent of the Scottish Parliament, the prime minister will be doing so in the full knowledge that they are breaking the 20-year-old devolution settlement".

Scotland voted against independence by 55 percent in a referendum in 2014, but Sturgeon insists she has a mandate to hold a second vote since Scotland voted against Brexit by 62 percent in 2016. "It becomes a bigger issue at the point when the bill is completing its passage through Westminster".

Because of a general inertia among Scots over the issue, Nicola McEwen, politics professor at the Centre on Constitutional Change at Edinburgh University, suggested that the Scottish government should instead play the long game.


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