WESTMINSTER’S controversial Illegal Migration Bill would “prevent” delivery of support to people who are victims of human trafficking in Scotland, a minister has said. 

Emma Roddick, minister for migration, told MSPs that the legislation “overreaches into the devolved competencies” of the Scottish Parliament.

Two clauses in the bill will make changes to the Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Scotland) Act and "restrict" the power of Scottish ministers.

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Roddick explained that provisions within the Human Trafficking Bill allowed victims who arrived in the UK "through irregular means" to access Scottish Government-funded support services.

However, this would be removed under the Illegal Migration Bill as a number of clauses make amendments to the Scottish legislation passed in 2015.

The provisions of the controversial UK bill are likely to "impact on the ability to support victims of human trafficking and, therefore, will impact on the delivery of the Trafficking and Exploitation Strategy", the motion said. 

The Illegal Migration Bill is currently at the report stage in the House of Lords, with the third reading of the legislation looming.

We previously told how an expert warned about the controversial bill's impact on Scottish devolution. 

The National: The Home Secretary is behind the controversial migration billThe Home Secretary is behind the controversial migration bill

The Scottish Tories claimed that the only people who believed the legislation impacted devolution were Scottish Government ministers.

Speaking in Parliament on Tuesday, Roddick said: “The Scottish Government's view is that this bill overreaches into devolved competencies by altering the Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Scotland) Act 2015 passed unanimously by this parliament.

“Clauses 23 and 27 of the bill are a restriction on the power of Scottish ministers under the 2015 Act, altering the executive competence of ministers and impacting our powers to support and assist those excluded as a result of this UK legislation.”

Roddick said the Government prepared a Legislative Consent Motion as they “firmly believe the Illegal Migration Bill is a relevant bill under Rule 90 of the standing orders”.

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However, the Presiding Officer rejected this bid and the Scottish Government was not permitted to lodge the LCM.

Instead, a debate was held on a motion stating that the Illegal Migration Bill will “negatively affect those seeking asylum in the UK” and restricted the powers of Scottish ministers.

“The Presiding Officer is of course entitled to reach the conclusion that she did but I am disappointed by the decision, and this disappointment has been amplified given the Senedd just voted last week refusing consent for what they call the ‘callous bill’ that would allow children to be removed from the care of Welsh social services,” Roddick added.

“The Scottish Government's view is that the consent of this Parliament should be required for clauses 23 and 27 of the UK bill.”

Roddick added: “I hope that all of us in the chamber today will recognise victims of trafficking as some of the most vulnerable people in society having suffered unimaginable trauma through the experiences of exploitation.

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"They should be afforded the correct support and protection, not vilified for seeking safety.”

Scottish Tory MSP Donald Cameron (pictured above) began his contribution by making a number of “procedural points”, and added it was not Westminster’s fault the Scottish Government could not lodge a LCM.

Roddick responded that at “no point” had she blamed the UK Government, but added it was Wesminster’s fault that the legislation includes “clauses which alter our executive competence which amend the Human Trafficking and Exploitation Act”.

The minister added that the Scottish Conservatives backed that legislation in 2015.

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Cameron said that “migration is quintessentially a reserved matter” and claimed that the legislation did not stray into devolved competency.

Cameron also took a pop at Social Justice Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville who sat beside Roddick on the front bench.

He added: “It would appear that the Cabinet Secretary was ill-advised to make such a pledge because it turns out the only people who think that devolved competence is engaged is the Scottish Government, not the UK Government and not the officials in this very Parliament, who are of the same views.

“The question again is why we are here today, and the fact is, this is simply another attempt, after a full debate on this bill on the 25th of April, where the substantive issues were exhaustively canvassed, to have another attack on UK Government migration policy.”

Roddick's motion passed with 82 votes for Yes, 28 for No, and no abstentions.