Clarity needed on withdrawal from EU.
The UK Government is keeping devolved administrations ‘substantially in the dark’ over EU withdrawal negotiations, according to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
On the first day of the 29th British Irish Council in Jersey the FM said the UK Government had not honoured its repeated assurances to share information on the progress of the negotiations.
In particular, clarity was urgently needed on transition arrangements for wholly devolved issues such as agriculture and fisheries.
The FM said:
“In less than 18 months’ time, the UK will be leaving the EU - but despite reassurances that all devolved administrations will be consulted on the withdrawal negotiations, we remain substantially in the dark.
“The UK Government assured us that the Joint Ministerial Committee (JMC) would seek to agree UK positions and discuss issues stemming from the negotiations, respecting the devolved competencies– but the UK Government then allowed that process to fall short of what is required, with only one meeting of the JMC EN in October since EU negotiations began on 19 June.
“We remain cut out of decisions on key issues and the impact the UK Government believe Brexit will have on Scotland and our economy.
“This is not an abstract debate about process. Leaving the EU will have an enormous impact on Scottish jobs, our economy and our relationship with the world – indeed, Brexit’s effects are already being felt. We know from businesses in Scotland that a hard Brexit will cause serious and long term economic damage and it is crucial we stay in the Single Market and Customs Union.
“As has previously been said, the clock is ticking on Brexit and it is essential that the UK Government live up to its promises to give devolved administrations a genuine role on what is by far the most important issue facing every corner of these islands.”