THE UK used "sleekit" tricks to grab powers from Holyrood as Scotland awaited the Supreme Court decision on its Continuity Bill.

The Supreme Court has now ruled that the Scottish Parliament was entitled to pass the Continuity Bill in March to protect powers that are coming back to Scotland after Brexit.

The seven justices of the court decided that only one small section of the Bill was outwith Holyrood’s competence.

However, in a ruling that will make interesting reading for supporters of independence, they struck down numerous other sections because the EU Withdrawal Act passed by Westminster three months after the Continuity Bill had rendered this Scottish legislation redundant.

READ MORE: How the UK sneakily moved the legal goalposts to achieve their Brexit ends

The Supreme Court was thereby agreeing with the assertion made before it in July by Advocate General Lord Richard Keen, the former Scottish Tory chairman, that “the UK Parliament is sovereign, the Scottish Parliament is not”.

Constitutional Relations Secretary Mike Russell said after the judgement was issued that the UK Government had committed “constitutional vandalism”.

Speaking on Sky News, he said: "The UK Government challenged the Bill we passed in March. The UK Supreme Court said it was competent, which is what the UK Government didn’t want them to say.

"It actually said they changed the rules after our Bill, which was, of course, in the Scottish word, sleekit, but they also said substantial parts of the Bill still stood. This was entirely contrary to what the UK Government wanted and said."

The judgement was delivered yesterday morning by Supreme Court President Lady Hale who said:”Our role is simply to determine as a matter of law whether and to what extent the Scottish Bill would be within the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament.

The National:

“This is the first occasion in the 19 years since the Scottish Parliament commenced its work that there has been a challenge by law officers of the UK Government to a Bill of the Scottish Parliament on the ground that it is outside legislative competence.”

The UK Government wanted the whole Continuity Bill scrapped on grounds that it was about international relations which is a Westminster reserved power.

The justices sided with Holyrood: “In our judgment, the Scottish Bill does not ‘relate to’ relations with the EU. It will take effect at a time when there will be no legal relations with the EU unless a further treaty is made with the EU.

“Parts of the argument of the UK Law Officers appear to suggest a wider objection that separate Scottish legislation about the consequences of withdrawal is legally untidy, politically inconvenient or redundant in the light of the corresponding UK legislation.

“But we are not concerned with supposed objections of this kind, which go to the wisdom of the legislation and not to its competence.”

They declared that Section 17 of the Bill would be outside the legislative of the Scotland Act as would other sections “as a result of the enactment of the UK Withdrawal Act”.

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Secretary of State for Scotland David Mundell said the ruling brought “much-needed legal clarity that the Continuity Bill goes beyond the powers of the Scottish Parliament”.

Scotland’s Lord Advocate James Wolffe told the Holyrood Parliament yesterday afternoon that the Supreme Court had “rejected all of the submissions” made by the UK law officers on the issue of legislative competence with the exception of one section.

He said the Scottish Government accepted the court’s verdict “in its entirety” and said there would be discussions with all parties before determining the way forward.

Tory constitutional issues spokesman Adam Tomkins said the ruling was a “clear, unambigious and of course unanimous judicial vindication for those of us who considered the SNP’s co-called Continuity Bill unlawful”.

He added: “There is no need for this Parliament to reconsider this legislation, what Parliament should do is bin it.”

Green co-convener Patrick Harvie wanted the legislation to continue saying the UK Government had “clearly malign intentions”.