The Scottish Government’s rebel Brexit bill passed its first parliamentary hurdle yesterday, after MSPs overwhelmingly voted 86 to 27 to fast-track the legislation.

It means the final vote on the alternative withdrawal bill will be in three weeks rather than months from now.

Only the Tories voted against the continuity bill being considered emergency legislation, arguing that speeding through the introduction of the legislation would mean it escaped proper parliamentary scrutiny.

That was an argument that held some water with Labour and Lib Dems MSPs, who made clear that despite their vote for the bill to be taken urgently, they were uncomfortable with the process.

Scottish Brexit minister Michael Russell told MSPs he was “very keen to see maximum scrutiny of this bill” but insisted it needed to passed now to be effective.

“In normal times, such a bill would follow a normal timetable. But these are not normal times. Consequently after much serious consideration, both the Welsh Government and ourselves have concluded that if the continuity bills are to defend the principles of devolution during the Brexit process, if they are to achieve their purpose, then an emergency bill is necessary.

“We both sought not to taking such bills, we continue to negotiate seriously in good faith with the UK government, to try and secure an agreement regarding the UK’s EU withdrawal bill that would allow our bills to be withdrawn, or if they have been enacted, to be set aside.

“But the timetable for this process is being driven not by us, but by the timetable of Westminster for their withdrawal bill.”

Russell pointed out that the Tory bill was due to finish its process through the UK Parliament and be signed off by the Queen at some point in May.

“It is essential that the continuity bills in Wales and Scotland become law before the EU withdrawal bill does,” he said.

“In the absence of an agreement about a common UK approach and in defence of devolution, this parliament must prepare itself to assert, if it has to, the right to legislate itself about the devolved consequences of EU withdrawal. “ The minister warned: “Without it, not only are we defenceless but our negotiating position as a government is severely weakened. We must not only have options and choices, we must be seen to have options and choices.”

Passing the legislation would result in a “united Scottish voice not a noisy Scottish voice”.

“Brexit has thrown us all sorts of responsibilities we didn’t vote for, didn’t seek and didn’t want. But we must not allow ourselves to be overwhelmed by them or succumb to the temptation to allow them to prevail,” he added.

Tory constitution spokesman Adam Tomkins said the continuity bill didn’t need to be a piece of emergency legislation as “there is no emergency”.

The law-boffin turned MSP said the Lord Advocate had on Wednesday told MSPs that none of the continuity bill’s “material provisions can come into force until after the United Kingdom has left the European Union, and we know that that cannot happen for another 13 months.“ “Emergency legislation should be avoided wherever possible, that’s our starting position. Why because emergency legislation denies effective parliamentary scrutiny.”

He said the SNP were treating the parliament with “disdain”.

He added: “This isn’t respecting the devolution settlement, and it’s not respecting this parliament.”

The Tory warned: “It is unwelcome, it is unnecessary and it is dangerous because it is when we legislate in haste that we legislate in error. And this is an invitation from the SNP to make bad law, and it is an invitation from the SNP to make law badly. And to those invitation we on these benches say no thank you.”

Green MSP Patrick Harvie said the bill was about making sure “Parliament was in control of the process, not government.”

“And I make that point in relation to both minority government. Neither the governments at UK nor in this parliament represent a majority, so parliamentary control must mean the majority in parliament, not the minority of government.”

He added: “None of us are capable of achieving perfection from this chaotic constitution crisis which the Conservative UK government has created, but we are capable of improving the situation.

“If we don't have this Scottish alternative to the EU withdrawal bill we willleave the UK government in a position where they will be able to force a unacceptable bill on us, fatally undermining the devolution settlement.

“There can be no doubt that is an emergency situation.”

Labour’s Johann Lamont said she was “very concerned” about the debate and troubled by the possibility that MSPs were setting “unwise precedents”.

“I accept the need for government to explore options to protect the devolution settlement. But we cannot press the need to protect this institution by being tempted into being cavalier with the procedures that have underpinned it and have embedded it as an institution.”

Liberal Democrat Tavish Scott called for stage two to be dealt with in committee to ensure adequate scrutiny.

In the end, MSPs voted by 86 to 27 in favour of treating the Bill as emergency legislation.

Holyrood will now debate stage one of the continuity bill next Tuesday, if that passes then stage two will be held in the following week, and the final stage the week after that.