‘Under the Scotland Act 1998, it appears that the Scottish Parliament has to consent to measures that eliminate EU law’s application in Scotland. At least that was the conclusion of a report on Brexit released by the House of Lords, the upper house of Britain’s parliament.
Jo Murkens, an associate professor of law at the London School of Economics I spoke with about this, told me that this isn’t actually an iron-clad veto. The Scotland Act was passed by the UK parliament, and parliament can amend it on its own to reduce the Scottish parliament’s powers.To exit the EU and avoid a binding Scottish veto, “Parliament would have to repeal the European Communities Act 1972 (by which it became a member) and would also have to amend the devolution legislation pertaining to Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland,” Murkens said. “That strikes me as technically easy, but politically difficult.
“If the Conservative Party is insistent on Brexiting and is willing to overturn decades of law giving Northern Ireland and Scotland (both of which voted overwhelmingly to stay in the EU) local control over their affairs, then it can totally do so. But, as Murkens also noted, such a dramatic action could risk a huge backlash. Scotland is already planning to hold another independence referendum, and seeing devolution curtailed would make its success much more likely. Northern Irish republicans would be emboldened to call for unification with the Republic of Ireland, which could occur, or they could just reignite the Troubles after decades of peace.
If the overriding objective of Conservatives, however, is to “preserve the integrity of the United Kingdom as a state,” Murkens said, “the objective of keeping NI and Scotland in the United Kingdom would turn them into veto players … Scotland and NI have voted to remain and the cost of not listening to them would be to split the UK.” …’