David Lidington in Edinburgh for Brexit talks with the Scottish Government

Written by Tom Freeman on 1 February 2018 in News

Damien Green's replacement heads to Edinburgh for talks over Brexit bill stalemate

David Lidington - Stefan Rousseau/PA

New Cabinet Office minister David Lidington is in Edinburgh today to meet Scottish ministers in an attempt to break the deadlock over the EU Withdrawal Bill.

The UK legislation has passed to the House of Lords without an agreement over the repatriation of powers normally devolved to Holyrood.

The Scottish and Welsh governments have labelled the bill "a power grab" and ministers said the Scottish Parliament will not give consent to the bill until concessions are made.

In its current form the EU Withdrawal Bill would see all powers return to London before some are devolved and others are retained in UK-wide frameworks.

Scotland Secretary David Mundell promised it would be amended in the Commons but ran out of time, denying MPs a debate on the issues. The move upset some Scottish Conservatives, as well as Labour and the SNP.

Ahead of today's talks, Mundell said: "The return of powers from the EU will lead to a significant increase in the decision-making powers of Holyrood.

"We have made good progress in our discussions with the Scottish government on common frameworks and will continue those discussions today. We want to agree an amendment to the EU Withdrawal Bill which we can then bring forward in the Lords."

Scotland's Brexit minister Michael Russell said: "On the EU Withdrawal Bill, we are becoming increasingly exasperated by the UK government's approach.

"This is not a disagreement between the Scottish and UK governments. It is now agreed unanimously, with support across parliament, that the bill is incompatible with devolution and will allow Westminster to take control of devolved areas.

"Because of their failure so far to listen, there is currently no prospect of the Scottish Parliament giving its consent. That is why we need to press ahead with our own preparations to ensure Scotland's laws are protected in the event the UK leaves the EU."

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