THE real feelings of Prime Minister Theresa May and Secretary of State for Exiting Europe David Davis towards Scotland’s role in Brexit were laid bare in the Supreme Court yesterday.

Advocate General Lord Richard Keen QC, acting for the UK Govern- ment, told the court during the Article 50 case that the Scottish Government’s contention that the Holyrood Parliament needed to consent to Brexit “simply does not arise in this appeal”.

Former Scottish Tory Party chairman Keen went on to say that the Sewel Convention that the Westminster Parliament would not normally interfere in devolved matters was “wholly irrelevant to this appeal and indeed to the conduct of foreign affairs (our italics).”

Showing the May Government’s contempt for the Scottish electorate’s 62 per cent to 38 per cent vote in favour of remaining in the EU, Keen, representing Davis in the appeal against the High Court’s decision that using the Royal Prerogative was unlawful, told the 11 justices of the Supreme Court that under the various devolution laws “foreign relations” were matters reserved to the Westminster Parliament.

Keen said: “The conduct of foreign relations is a matter expressly reserved in the devolution legislation, such that the devolved legislatures have no competence in that matter.

“Those reserved matters include, amongst others, and I quote, ‘international relations, including relations with territories outside the United Kingdom, the European Union and their institutions and other inter- national organisations’.

“It is perfectly clear and express on the face of this legislation that the matter of foreign relations and foreign affairs, and in particular the matter of our relationship with the European Union, is not within the competence of the devolved legislatures.

“I will submit that these reser- vations are fatal to reliance on the devolution legislation as giving rise to any necessary implication, or indeed any other indication that the Government cannot exercise its foreign affairs and treaty prerogative in the ordinary way.

“It respectfully appears to me that there is nothing in this legislation that could abrogate the exercise of the foreign affairs prerogative, and that the court is not assisted by lengthy attempts to bring the exercise of that prerogative or to qualify the exercise of that prerogative, by reference to the devolved legislation.”

Keen did not explain how that contention sat with the assertions by Theresa May and David Davis that they would be listening to Scotland’s arguments as they planned for Brexit.

He did say: “This case does not concern the passage of legislation and that in my respectful submission is a complete answer to the rather surprising proposition made by the Lord Advocate that there is an issue properly in dispute between the parties with regard to that matter.”

On the question of the Sewel Convention he added later: “It is not necessary and certainly not appro- priate to consider the functions of the Sewell Convention in the context of this appeal. No basis for that has been made out.”

The Lord Advocate, James Wolffe, will put the Scottish Government’s case that the Sewel Convention does apply to Article 50 when he appears before the Supreme Court today.

In other developments in the case, James Eadie QC, for the May Government, said that if the appeal was lost and Parliament had to vote on triggering Article 50 then the answer might be a simple “one-line act” to that effect.

“The solution in legal terms is a one-line act,” said Eadie. “It may be that would lead to all sorts of Parliamentary complications and possible additions and amendments and so on, but that’s the solution.”

For the first time, the court heard from Lord Pannick, the QC appearing for businesswoman Gina Miller, who mounted the successful High Court challenge against the Government using the Royal Prerogative to trigger Article 50.

Pannick told the court that there were seven reasons why the Government’s appeal should fail, stating that the Royal Prerogative powers were insufficient to nullify the 1972 European Communities Act, and that the Government would exceed its powers if it triggered Article 50.

He went on to say that ministers cannot use prerogative power to frustrate legislation, and that none of the European Union-related acts created over 40-odd years gave ministers power to trigger Article 50.

His main contention was that only an act of Parliament can take away the rights linked to the EU that have been created since 1972 membership, saying: “It is so obvious, so basic…these are matters for Parliament.”

Pannick later added: “However flexible our constitution, it cannot be bent so that ministers, through the exercise of the prerogative, can take away what Parliament has created.”

Pannick also read the High Court’s reasons for declaring the May Government’s actions unlawful, adding: “I can’t improve on that.”

The lawyer also told the court that an amendment by former first minister Alex Salmond during the passage of the 2015 Referendum Act which would have given the referendum vote “legal force” had been rejected by the Government.