Over the top? Exaggerated? Think again.
But this is the important bit:
OK, that is clear. From the day of Brexit onwards, the Scottish Parliament cannot make any changes to legislation on retained powers.
The Bill continues:
So that’s also clear. A Westminster Minister needs to have a consent decision from the Scottish Parliament before he can go ahead with taking forward legislation on any retained powers. Holyrood has forty days to respond to notice from the Minister. If there is no response from Holyrood the Westminster Minister can go ahead with putting motions before the House of Commons or the Lords.
Then the Bill helpfully defines what is meant by a “consent decision”:
So a “consent decision” is not a decision to consent to a piece of legislation. A “consent decision” is just a response from Holyrood to notice of proposed legislation for a retained power in Westminster whether our response is:
(a) We’re OK with this
(b) We’re not OK with this.
(c) We have agreed a motion which refuses consent to your proposed legislation
In other words it doesn’t matter one iota what the Scottish Parliament wants, says, refuses, or how it votes on any area of the retained powers, Westminster can go ahead anyway and put its proposals to the vote in the Commons and the Lords.
Westminster can lay such proposals for a period of two years after Brexit and any regulations which are passed in that time will remain in force for five years after they come into force. After that – so that’s seven years after Brexit – any regulations can be revoked by a subsequent Act in Holyrood.
Nicola Sturgeon was asked about all this in this week’s First Minister’s Question. Ash Denham asked: