IN 1998 the Scottish Parliament Bill was debated in the House of Commons. This process took 353 days and a total of 47 hours and 35 minutes.

In the House of Commons this week, in less than 15 minutes, many of those devolved powers have been clawed back to Westminster through the EU Withdrawal Bill.

This is nothing short of an absolute outrage, with Westminster ripping up the devolution settlement and not even letting any MPs from Scotland speak in the debate, an affront to democracy.

The Brexit bill says that the “vast majority” of the 158 areas where policy in devolved areas is currently decided in Brussels will go directly to the Scottish and Welsh parliaments after Brexit. But it has also named 24 areas where it wants to retain power temporarily in the wake of Britain’s exit from the EU, including in areas such as agriculture, fisheries, food labelling and public procurement. This will last for up to seven years, during which time key powers of the parliament will be frozen, without its consent.

For two decades, decisions made by the Scottish Parliament on issues affecting devolution have been final, but the UK Government has now driven a coach and horses through the constitutional settlement and imposed its will in the face of an overwhelming vote in the Scottish Parliament, with only the Tories opposing this at Holyrood.

The Tories campaigned against devolution in 1997 and are now actively dismantling it. A dark day for devolution.

Alex Orr

IT is clear that the Conservatives, both at Holyrood and at Westminster, don’t care a jot whether there is a Scottish Parliament or not and, while there is one, will treat it with contempt. Labour, on the other hand, were the architects of Holyrood and are in a different position. They are supporting the Tories because Holyrood hasn’t worked out for them as they had hoped. Rather than creating a citadel in the north for them to rule over in perpetuity, while they train folk up for the greater prize of being an MP at Westminster, it has been hijacked by the SNP – who since 2007 have made, on the whole, a good job of running the country and making improvements to the way we live here.

The Tories were always going to take Brexit as an opportunity to give Holyrood a kicking, so nothing they do should surprise us. Labour clearly do not see themselves with any prospect of forming an administration in Scotland in the next seven years so are quite happy to see powers reduced and the SNP having their wings clipped. They are happy to abstain at Westminster because they fear bringing down Theresa May’s government and risk being elected and having to deal with the chaos that is Brexit. Better to let the Tories get on with it, then they will get the blame when the whole thing crashes down around us.

Last week, at the SNP party conference, Nicola Sturgeon wisely said she wanted to wait to see what Brexit was looking like before making a decision in a second independence referendum.

I think we can see what it’s looking like now.

John Wilson

SO, in summary (following the walkout of SNP MPs today), the Tories are kept in power by a bribe paid to 10 DUP MPs with a track record for bigoted politics and who have ignored their own constituents who voted Remain. Meanwhile, with help from the bellicose berk Bercow, Scotland’s rights – issues of devolved power and representations – can be trodden in the muck in May’s rush to placate, again, the Westminster posh thugs (eg Johnson/Rees-Mogg) howling for raw Brexit.

Just so we’re clear.

Amanda Baker

I KNOW that Scottish Labour MPs hate being referred to as Unionists. In view of their abstention in the vote on Clause 15 of the EU Withdrawal Bill, I would like to suggest an alternative nickname – something more modern, descriptive of their political posture, possibly even (in a way) kind of sexy!

I think they should be called “The Submissives”.

Stuart Porter

WHAT a shambles as PMQs reaches a new low! This farce must be ended. It certainly can’t be called PM’s answers! The way the Speaker treated Ian Blackford and the SNP was inexcusable. It was very obvious that Bercow was unsure of procedure and had to be given advice by one of his lackeys. The contempt for the SNP emanates from every part of this duplicitous house! Any No voter should be compelled to watch two or three episodes of PMQs! This would surely ensure a majority Yes vote next time.

Billy Kerr
Galston, Ayrshire

THE Westminster Parliament showed its utter contempt for Scottish democracy – the Scottish Tories by accepting Theresa May’s play on words as a guarantee of future consultation, followed by the Tory government hogging the only quarter of an hour available for debate on the devolved section of the Brexit bill, and Labour by abstaining when it came to the vote, ignoring their Scottish MSPs in Holyrood who refused to approve the Brexit bill.

If there ever was any meaningful devolution of power from Westminster to Holyrood, it was shown to have expired yesterday.

John Jamieson
South Queensferry

SO it is true, then. The sun will never set on the British Empire, because God cannot trust the English parliament in the dark! Or even in the light, as we have seen.

Vic MacKinlay