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Denying Brexit 'like refusing Scots devolved parliament'

The Prime Minister was speaking ahead of Tuesday's meaningful vote on her Brexit deal.

'Brazen hypocrisy': May accused of distorting devolution history.
'Brazen hypocrisy': May accused of distorting devolution history.

The Prime Minister has said refusing to honour the 2016 Brexit vote would be like failing to implement the referendum which brought about the Scottish Parliament.

Theresa May warned MPs ahead of Tuesday's crunch Commons vote that voting down her Brexit deal would be "the height of recklessness".

But May was criticised for "brazen hypocrisy" by comparing the EU referendum to the devolution votes in Scotland and Wales.

As a new MP, May voted in 1998 against the Wales Bill to establish a Welsh Assembly as well as for a wrecking amendment to the Scotland Bill.

The 2005 Conservative manifesto also carried a pledge to hold a second referendum in Wales that could have seen the assembly abolished.

Following criticism of a trailed version of the Prime Minister's speech, it was rewritten to remove a line that claimed the legitimacy of the Welsh Assembly had "never seriously been questioned".

The Prime Minister's is widely expected to lose the meaningful vote on Tuesday, despite fresh reassurances from Brussels on the contentious Irish backstop.

A new letter from European Council president Donald Tusk and European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker attempts to convince MPs that the customs arrangement would be temporary if it came into effect.

https://stv.tv/news/politics/1434564-where-are-we-now-with-brexit-bernard-ponsonby-explains/ | default

Speaking to factory workers in Stoke on Monday, May said: "The only ways to guarantee we do not leave without a deal are to abandon Brexit, betraying the vote of the British people, or to leave with a deal.

"The only deal on the table is the one MPs will vote on tomorrow night.

"You can take no deal off the table by voting for that deal.

"If no deal is as bad as you believe it is, it will be the height of recklessness to do anything else."

She continued: "Imagine if an anti-devolution House of Commons had said to the people of Scotland or Wales that despite voting in favour of a devolved legislature, Parliament knew better and would overrule them.

"Or else force them to vote again. What if we found ourselves in a situation where Parliament tried to take the UK out of the EU in opposition to a remain vote?"

The Prime Minister added: "On the rare occasions when Parliament puts a question to the British people directly, we've always understood their response carries a profound significance.

"When the people of Wales voted by a margin of 0.3%, on a turnout of just over 50%, to endorse the creation of the Welsh Assembly, that result was accepted by Parliament.

"Indeed, we've never had a referendum in the United Kingdom that we've not honoured the result of.

"Parliament understood this fact when it voted overwhelmingly to trigger Article 50."

https://stv.tv/news/politics/1434558-david-mundell-admits-may-s-brexit-deal-is-not-perfect/ | default

Responding to May's speech, SNP MSP Joan McAlpine said: "Theresa May is increasingly desperate - it seems she'll now say absolutely anything, no matter how untrue, to try and force MPs to vote for her deal.

"This speech is brazen hypocrisy, with Theresa May herself previously voting against a referendum result, and then standing on a manifesto that sought a second referendum to overturn it.

"The Tories now think they can do anything they want to Scotland and get away with it.

"They campaigned tooth and nail to stop devolution in the first place, have launched a power-grab on the Scottish Parliament and are now doing everything they can to drag Scotland out of the EU against our will."

The two-part referendum held in Scotland in 1997 saw 74% of voters back a Scottish Parliament, with 63% agreeing it should have tax-raising powers.

A referendum in 1979 saw 52% of Scots vote to form a Scottish Assembly, but the result was not honoured after a Labour amendment to the Scotland Act 1978 added a requirement 40% of registered Scottish voters had to back it.

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