CONTROVERSIAL plans to give Scottish ministers sweeping powers have cleared their first hurdle at Holyrood thanks to SNP and Green votes.

Liberal Democrat, Tory and Labour MSPs refused to back the Coronavirus (Recovery and Reform) Bill at Stage One, despite the Scottish Government offering a compromise.

The legislation would give ministers 'Henry VIII powers', allowing them to amend any act of parliament in a “serious and imminent crisis”. 

It would make some emergency coronavirus powers permanent, such as the ability to impose lockdown restrictions, allow court hearings to take place remotely and restrict access to schools.

Conservative MSP Jamie Green called it “quite a grave attempt by government to retain extraordinary powers”.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said the Bill would be amended to in light of the concerns, with a “gateway” vote before and Henry VIII powers were deployed. 

He said: “This would mean that parliamentary approval must be in place before any modification to primary legislation takes place.

"I accept the Bill... as introduced did not strike the right balance between the legislative framework we need and the necessary level of parliamentary oversight.”

MSPs later backed the Bill by 65 votes to 53.