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Brexit talks update

Published: 08 Mar 2018 17:07

Scottish Government makes new proposal to protect devolution.

Commenting following the latest meeting of the JMC (EN), Michael Russell, the Minister for UK Negotiations on Scotland’s Place in Europe, said:

“‎I made it clear today that we are determined to protect devolution.

"However it was deeply disappointing that the UK Government did not bring forward any new proposal today and are pressing ahead with a bill that, even with their proposed amendment, would allow them to unilaterally take control of devolved powers without the agreement of the Scottish Parliament.

“In contrast, in our effort to secure an agreement, the Scottish and Welsh Governments have made another offer to the UK Government today. 

“We are clear that the EU Withdrawal Bill must be amended so that the devolution settlement cannot be changed without the consent of the Scottish Parliament.

“That is why we said to the UK Government that if we can agree the areas where UK-wide legislative frameworks may be required after Brexit and if it is also agreed that consent to the necessary parliamentary orders will be required from the Scottish Parliament in each case, then we would take steps to reassure the UK Government that Scotland would not unreasonably withhold that consent.

 “With regard to the list of powers, it is completely unacceptable that the UK Government said at the meeting today they have drawn up a new list of powers, including ones they say are reserved, that had not previously been shared or discussed with the Scottish or Welsh Governments.

"We have not agreed this list but in the interests of transparency we do not object to it being published – but that is for the UK Government, as it is their document.

“It now seems that the UK Government has admitted it is struggling to counter the charge that they are conducting a power grab on the Scottish Parliament – and no wonder.

“Devolved powers covering farming, fishing, the environment and a range of other areas are at risk. But let's be clear: the EU Withdrawal Bill allows the UK Government to take control of any devolved power, regardless of any list produced today.

"Right now we are being asked to sign away the Parliament’s powers with no idea of how UK-wide frameworks will work, how they will be governed and how we will go from the temporary restrictions the UK Government wants to agreeing longer term solutions.

"We can't allow that to happen.

 “We continue to want an agreed solution and to be able to recommend consent to the Scottish Parliament – however without further movement by the UK Government we will press ahead with our EU Continuity Bill, which received overwhelming backing across the Scottish Parliament yesterday."