MPs urge UK Government to provide clarity on how Brexit will affect devolution
In a new report, the Scottish Affairs Committee urged the UK Government to “take urgent action” to improve the EU Withdrawal Bill
Image credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire/
MPs have urged the UK Government to provide clarity on how Brexit will affect areas of devolved decision making.
In a new report, the Scottish Affairs Committee urged the UK Government to “take urgent action” to improve the EU Withdrawal Bill, which will convert EU legislation into UK law, and to provide devolved administrations with greater clarity on what the transfer will mean for devolution.
Tensions have grown between the Scottish and UK governments over the UK’s handling of Brexit negotiations, with Nicola Sturgeon and Carwyn Jones using a joint statement in July to dismiss the withdrawal bill as a “naked power grab” which will undermine the principles of devolution.
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The Committee called on Number 10 to work with devolved administrations to agree common UK frameworks and establish what new intergovernmental machinery will be needed to support them.
The MPs also recommended that UK ministers seek the consent of Scottish ministers for common frameworks, and before exercising delegated powers in devolved areas of responsibility.
Committee Chair Pete Wishart said: “We have heard serious concerns about the impact the EU (Withdrawal) Bill could have on Scotland’s devolution settlement. The Scottish Government has been clear that it cannot recommend that the Scottish Parliament gives its consent to the Bill as it is currently drafted, but we were encouraged by the Secretary of State for Scotland and Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary’s desire to resolve outstanding issues, and the level of agreement between the two ministers on many areas. We welcome the efforts which are being undertaken by both sides to achieve this.
“That said, we believe the Government needs to take urgent action to improve the Bill and provide greater clarity about the implications of this legislation for Scotland’s devolution settlement. Central to our recommendations is the importance of agreeing a way forward with the devolved administrations, and securing consent in relation to future UK-wide frameworks.
“We hope that our report, which was agreed unanimously by our Committee of SNP, Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs representing Scottish constituencies, will be of use to MPs as they consider the EU (Withdrawal) Bill, and that the UK Government responds positively to the recommendations we have made.”
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