Scottish parliament backs symbolic motion rejecting article 50

The Scottish parliament has voted for a symbolic motion rejecting the UK government’s expected decision to trigger article 50 and begin the process of leaving the EU.

Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Scottish Green party overwhelmingly backed the motion put forward by the ruling Scottish National party.

There was initially unease among Labour MSPs about supporting the motion, because the first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has repeatedly linked disputes over the shape of a Brexit deal with an increased chance of a snap second referendum on independence.

Those concerns eased after Sturgeon dropped her plans to put down a more formal legislative consent motion opposing article 50, because a supreme court ruling last month said Holyrood did not have the legal authority to reject it.

In the event, three Labour MSPs voted alongside the Scottish Conservatives against the Scottish government motion, effectively adopting Jeremy Corbyn’s formal position at Westminster that Labour should not obstruct or thwart the triggering of article 50.

The three were Elaine Smith, the only Labour MSP known to have voted in favour of Brexit last June, and Neil Findlay and Richard Leonard, who are openly aligned with Corbyn, the UK Labour leader. That gave the amended Scottish government motion, which said the UK government had failed to properly consult the devolved administrations, a comfortable majority of 90 votes to 34.

A UK government spokesman said: “The British people made the…

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