YESTERDAY, the Scottish Parliament voted overwhelmingly to protect devolution from the Tory Brexit power grab.

By a total of 93 to 30, MSPs voted not to consent to the EU Withdrawal Bill as currently proposed by the UK Government. Today, the Tories stand isolated – just as they did when they fought so hard to stop the Parliament being set up in the first place. For the Tories, Westminster always comes first.

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The legislation they want to force through would allow the UK Government to prevent the Scottish Parliament from legislating in key areas – such as agriculture, fisheries and the environment – for up to seven years without the consent of MSPs.

This is not an abstract constitutional debate. This is about the ability of our Parliament to take action to provide support for our farmers and fishing communities, to protect the safety of the food we eat and the air we breathe.

Devolved policy areas such as GM crops and procurement laws affecting the NHS are also at stake. These are areas where we can’t afford to have our hands tied for years without the Parliament’s consent, at the mercy of a right-wing, hard Brexit, Tory Government.

Now the Parliament has decisively agreed that this would be unacceptable.

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In line with the overwhelming majority of people in Scotland, the Scottish Government opposes Brexit.

But we accept we must prepare our laws for that eventuality. And we agree that in some policy areas it will make sense to set up what are called UK frameworks.

The way to do this is through agreement, not imposition from Westminster.

So, after yesterday’s vote the ball is in the court of the UK Government. Constitutional convention dictates that the parts of the bill the Scottish Parliament objects to – namely what has been referred to Clause 11 and Schedule 3 – should be removed from the bill before it becomes law.

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We can then move forward as equal partners.

That should be next step, based on the clear majority vote in the Scottish Parliament.

What cannot happen is for the UK Government to ignore the view of the Scottish Parliament and ignore the reality of devolution.

It has been suggested that the UK Government will simply impose the EU Withdrawal Bill on the Scottish Parliament.

Let me be clear – if the UK Government moves to force on this Parliament an arrangement for restricting devolution that does not have Parliament’s consent, it will do so in the full knowledge that it is breaking the 20-year-old devolution settlement and operating outwith the agreed constitution. That would take us into uncharted constitutional waters – it has not happened before and it must not happen now.

The Scottish Parliament, on behalf of the people of Scotland, has sent a clear message that we won’t stand by while devolved powers are restricted without the Parliament’s consent. Now it’s time for the UK Government to listen and take action, and to respect the devolution settlement people in Scotland voted for so overwhelmingly.