THE stage has been set for an unprecedented constitutional clash as MSPs voted to reject the UK Government’s flagship Brexit legislation.

The SNP, Scottish Labour, Liberal Democrats and Greens teamed up to withhold consent for the EU Withdrawal Bill – with only the Conservatives standing behind it.

In a speech invoking the birth of Holyrood two decades ago, Scottish Brexit minister Mike Russell declared: “There is a Scottish Parliament and its voice must be heard.”

It comes amid claims a key section of the UK legislation, which deals with the return of devolved powers from Brussels after Brexit, represents a “power grab”.

UK ministers want temporary control over 24 devolved areas – including food quality, farm subsidies and public procurement – to ensure cross-border frameworks can be set up after Brexit.

Mr Russell said Scotland’s inaugural first minister Donald Dewar – often dubbed the “Father of the Nation” for his role in delivering devolution – had cautioned that the Scottish Parliament was “not an end”, it was “a means to greater ends.”

He added: “Today we are called on – for the first time – to protect those means by refusing to accept changes to them to which we have not agreed.

“To protect those means, so that we can go on achieving the best ends for Scotland we can.

“To protect those means because the people of Scotland themselves chose them – and they chose us to protect them.”

MSPs voted 93 to 30 to reject the Brexit Bill, a move which could lead to UK ministers imposing the legislation on Scotland without Holyrood’s consent.

Meanwhile, the Scottish Government is gearing up for a Supreme Court battle over its alternative Brexit legislation, which has been challenged by the UK Government.

Both sides said the door remains open for last-ditch cross-party talks with UK and Scottish ministers in a bid to break the Brexit deadlock.

Scottish Tory constitution spokesman Adam Tomkins denied there was a power grab and insisted it was “frankly baffling that we are where we are today”.

He said: “It's patently obvious that Nicola Sturgeon wants a political crisis to provide cover for her independence drive.

“We will stand up for anyone – Conservative, Labour or Lib Dem – who wants to see the SNP challenged and taken on.

“The SNP has taken the wrong path today. It's deeply disappointing that the leaders of Labour and the Lib Dems have helped them do it.”

The EU Withdrawal Bill seeks to transfer all existing European legislation into domestic UK law, but aspects dealing with the return of devolved powers have proved controversial.