Devolution ‘subverted’ over fear of Sinn Fein: MSP Mike Russell

The Scottish Parliament
The Scottish Parliament

The UK Government is resisting devolving powers from Brussels to the Scottish Parliament over fears of what Sinn Fein might do in a future NI Assembly, it has been claimed.

Scottish Brexit Secretary Mike Russell said he discussed the issue with Cabinet Secretary David Lidington earlier this week.

It comes after the Scottish Parliament has refused to give its consent to the UK’s Brexit legislation, believing it should have the powers.

“The whole reason why devolution in Scotland and Wales had to be subverted was out of fear of what Sinn Fein might do in a legitimate assembly,”Mr Russell told BBC’s Good Morning Ulster programme.

“The issue here is people’s consent and people’s votes. If the UK government is so afraid of people voting and consenting, then they should give up democracy all together.

“If they aren’t afraid of that, then they should stop making silly allegations and attempting silly smears.”

Mr Russell also said he had concerns about the DUP’s influence at Westminster, where the party is propping up Theresa May’s minority Tory administration.

“I do think there’s an issue to be dealt with here,” he said.

“We don’t take part in Northern Irish politics, that is an issue for people in Northern Ireland, but it does seem that if the DUP is in a position to veto things happening in Westminster - to veto devolved settlements - then we’re in a dangerous situation.”