HOLYROOD voted decisively last night against the triggering of Article 50 to begin the legal process for the UK to leave the European Union.

MSPs from the SNP, Labour, the Greens and the Liberal Democrats united to back a motion arguing that Theresa May’s Brexit Bill should not proceed.

The cross-party stance reflected the 62 per cent remain result north of the Border in last year’s referendum, with 90 MSPs supporting the Scottish Government motion, amended by the Greens, and 34 voting against.

Unlike in Westminster, however, where lone Tory MP Ken Clarke last week defied his party’s whip to vote against the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill, not a single Tory MSP rebelled.

Three Labour MSPs – Neil Findlay, Elaine Smith and Richard Leonard – voted against the Scottish Government motion.

In doing so they opposed the Scottish Labour position to reject triggering Article 50, but backed the position taken by UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn not to frustrate the exit process.

The Holyrood vote came after a heated debate in which Scottish Government minister Mike Russell warned May’s plans for a hard Brexit will lead to a “hard Britain” and the UK government response to the debate would be “a key test of whether Scotland’s voice is being listened to”.

While the Supreme Court has ruled the UK Government does not need to consult the devolved administrations before it starts the formal process of leaving the European Union, Russell insisted the debate in Edinburgh was “more than symbolic” – even though SNP ministers did not bring a formal legislative consent motion to Parliament as they had originally planned.

He said: “This debate, in Scotland’s own Parliament, gives MSPs the opportunity to speak loudly and clearly – to say to the UK, to Europe and the world that we oppose the catastrophic hard Brexit now being pursued by the Tories at Westminster.

“It has never been the case that the Scottish Parliament or any of the devolved legislatures had a veto over Brexit. But this vote is more than symbolic. It’s a key test of whether Scotland’s voice is being listened to, whether our wishes can be accommodated within the UK process.”

While the Scottish Government has put forward “compromise proposals” aimed at keeping the country in the European single market, Russell said there has been no response to them from UK ministers.

He described the Holyrood debate as being “about democracy itself”, adding: “It’s a debate about the sort of country the UK is becoming and the sort of country we in Scotland wish to be. And the contrast between those countries is stark.

“Theresa May’s hard Brexit will lead to a hard Britain, a Britain out of the single market with cutting immigration and enforcing borders prioritised above all else.

“Living standards, the economy and how the UK is seen across the world will all play second fiddle to that obsession.”

With May having already said she intends to start the Article 50 process in March, Russell claimed the “clock is ticking” for an agreement to be reached.

He said: “There is still time for the UK Government to recognise democracy in these islands.

“But that time is running out. Voting today to reject the triggering of Article 50 is a good way – in fact it is now the only way – to remind the Prime Minister of that and of the disastrous consequences of the path she seems determined to tread.”

Ross Greer for the Scottish Greens warned the Brexit plan was being made up on the go by hard-right Tory ideologues and said the “time for compromise has almost passed”.

“During the independence referendum we were told that Scotland is an equal partner in the union. That is clearly not the case,” he said.

“This vote and the vote of the people of Scotland in the EU referendum will be overridden by Westminster. All members in this chamber must now ask themselves: Where would you rather see Scotland?

“The time for compromise has almost passed and we will likely have to choose one future or another.”

Lewis Macdonald, for Labour, said: “Our responsibility in the Scottish Parliament is to say whether we believe UK ministers have done enough to go to Europe and negotiate on our behalf. We believe the answer has to be that they have not.

“We in this place have no veto on Article 50 but we do have a right and a duty to speak on behalf of those we seek to represent.

“We should therefore say that we do not endorse Mrs May’s proposals and that she should not proceed until she has demonstrated that she has a clear strategy for achieving the right outcomes from the negotiations that will follow.”

Tory MSP John Lamont accused SNP ministers of “grievance politics” and making “weekly threats” about another vote on independence.