LIBDEM peer Lord Steel warned the UK Government had “treated the Scottish Government badly” as a two day debate on the EU Withdrawal Bill got underway at Westminster yesterday.

The former Holyrood presiding officer, who had vowed to raise complaints by the SNP in the Lords about a Brexit devolution “power grab” by the Tories, made an impassioned plea for the UK to bring forward amendments to protect the devolution settlement.

Addressing his fellow lords, he said he would concentrate on the single aspect of the bill, its effect on the Scottish Parliament.

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“I believe the Scottish Government has been treated rather badly in this whole process,” he said, adding that there was a “serious problem” with clause 11 which undermined the principle of the devolution settlement that everything is devolved unless it is stated as explicitly reserved.

Earlier his party colleague, former Scottish Government minister Lord Wallace said the bill was “badly bungled”.

“This EU withdrawal legislation has been badly bungled. The Bill, as it is currently drafted, virtually turns the architecture of devolution and the Scotland Act on its head. The upper chamber will provide essential scrutiny and shall make every effort to ensure that the principles of devolution are respected,” he said.

Other senior Scottish Lib Dems went on the offensive too, with former party leader Lord Campbell accusing Brexiteer Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg of threatening the Lords over Brexit.

Earlier Labour former transport secretary and prominent Remainer Lord Adonis proposed a rare motion of regret the Bill did not provide for a second referendum on the terms of the final Brexit deal.

“We are told that frictionless trade will arise, amazingly, from the setting up of thousands of trade barriers where they currently don’t exist.

“And on the future of Ireland, where Parliament ought to tread with especial care given the tragedies of recent decades, the Government says it intends continued regulatory alignment when its stated policy elsewhere is to discontinue alignment and promote regulatory dealignment.

“The House needs to reconcile rhetoric and reality in all these areas,” he said.

Lord Adonis went on: “I say that the interests of the public as a whole do not lie in making Britain poorer.

“They do not lie in undermining the Good Friday Agreement.

“They do not lie in diminishing trade and our people’s right to live and work across Europe.

“They do not lie in scapegoating Europe and foreigners for the social challenges that we face and they emphatically do not lie in weakening our solidarity with Germany and France and the other democracies of Europe in standing up to Vladimir Putin and others who now and in the future threaten our borders, our lives and our values.

“These are grave matters.

“We owe the House of Commons and the public our advice and I believe in due course we owe our fellow citizens the right to decide for themselves whether the Government’s Brexit terms should proceed.”

Almost 190 peers are listed to speak over the two days of second reading, where the principle of the Bill will be considered.

No votes on the bill will go ahead this week but amendments to the bill are set to be made before it goes to the committee stage in the House of Lords next month.