SCOTLAND’S Constitution Secretary Angus Robertson has accused the UK Government of “imposing Westminster rule by stealth” in a worrying trend of increasing control over devolved matters.

His comments come as a new paper highlights concerns over this issue, including Westminster passing new laws in devolved areas without the consent of Holyrood.

Since 1999 the UK Government has followed the Sewel convention, which means that Westminster “will not normally legislate with regard to devolved matters without the consent” of the devolved legislatures.

However it is not legally binding – and since Brexit there have been nine occasions where this has been ignored.

READ MORE: SNP to call for inquiry into Brexit impact on cost of living

EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018

The UK Government conceded that key elements of this legislation came under the Sewel convention – but the Scottish and Welsh parliaments withheld their consent over concerns it was a Brexit “power grab”, attempting to introduce their own bills.

In the end there were changes to the devolution clauses of the legislation, but the passing of the Act without Holyrood’s consent marked the first time the convention had been set aside by Westminster.

EU (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland all withheld consent for this legislation with concerns it gave UK ministers powers to make decision on devolved matters.

Defending the decision to proceed anyway, UK minister Michael Gove tried to argue that while the Sewel convention states the UK Parliament will “not normally” legislate without the consent of devolved legislatures, the circumstances of the UK’s departure from the EU were “not normal”.

EU (Future Relationship) Act 2020

This legislation, which made changes to domestic law to implement the agreements over Brexit finalised between the UK and the EU, was also rejected by Holyrood.

Gove told the Commons: “The convention holds that the UK Government will not normally legislate with regard to devolved matters without the consent of the devolved legislatures, but the circumstances were not normal.”

The National:

UK Internal Market Act 2020

This Act was brought in by Westminster to regulate trade between the four nations of the UK in the wake of Brexit and has hit the headlines in recent weeks over the impact on Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme.

When it was introduced, then Constitution Secretary Mike Russell said it was impossible to recommend Holyrood give consent to the bill, describing it as a “shabby blueprint that will open the door to bad trade deals and unleashes an assault on devolution the like we have not experienced since the Scottish Parliament was established.”

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Professional Qualifications Act 2022

This was introduced to revoke the EU-based system for recognising professional qualifications gained overseas. But the SNP raised concerns over a lack of legislative requirement for UK ministers to obtain consent when legislating on devolved issues.

The UK Government did not bring forward amendments to reflect the views of the Scottish Parliament after it refused consent, as it should under the Sewel Convention, and the bill was passed unchanged by the UK Parliament.

Subsidy Control Act 2022

MSPs refused to give legislative consent to the UK Government’s post-Brexit subsidy bill as it would cause “further erosion of the devolution settlement”. The legislation set out how the UK will replace EU state aid rules and the framework to implement them, as well as covering subsidies which have or are capable of having an effect on competition or investment in the UK.

Under EU rules, the Scottish Government had more autonomy, much of which was been transferred back to the UK Government.

Nationality and Borders Act 2022

Holyrood refused consent for this bill from former home secretary Priti Patel, with MSPs warning it would interfere with devolved powers, raise serious concerns over child welfare and could harm efforts to deal with human trafficking.

The vote was welcomed by Sabir Zazai, the chief executive of the Scottish Refugee Council, who said: “Today’s vote in Parliament sent a very clear message – Scotland welcomes refugees.”

However this is one of two bills where UK Government did not seek legislative consent as it did not consider it was required.

Trade (Australia and New Zealand) Act 2023

The Scottish Parliament refused to give consent to the Australia and New Zealand trade deals, again due to concerns about the impact on devolution.

Then trade minister Ivan McKee said parts of the bill would give UK ministers delegated power to “legislated directly on devolved matters in Scotland, bypassing Scottish ministers and the Scottish Parliament entirely” and that there were concerns with both trade deals, particularly in regards to agri-foods.

Genetic Technology (Precision Breeding) Act 2023

The Tory government’s plans to legalise certain genetically modified foods for the UK market was the second bill where the UK Government did not consider consent was required.

The Scottish Parliament refused consent for the bill to be implemented in Scotland as while it is directed towards England, concerns were raised it contained provisions that could allow UK ministers to impose gene editing in Scotland.