Scottish and Welsh governments agree to coordinate amendments to UK repeal bill
Nicola Sturgeon and Carwyn Jones describe the UK repeal bill as “an unashamed move to centralise decision making power in Westminster”
The Scottish and Welsh first ministers have agreed to coordinate their responses to the UK Government’s repeal bill, describing the bill as “an unashamed move to centralise decision making power in Westminster”.
After a meeting between Nicola Sturgeon and Carwyn Jones, the Scottish and Welsh governments released a joint statement committing to coordinate advice to the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly over the implications of the EU Withdrawal Bill, which transfers EU legislation into British law.
The SNP, Scottish Labour, Scottish Greens and Scottish Lib Dems have all expressed concern that the bill amounts to a “power grab” on devolution.
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But Scottish Secretary David Mundell said the bill is designed to maintain the British single market, with powers only devolved if divergence from the UK framework is deemed to be acceptable.
Speaking at its publication, he described the bill as “power bonanza for the Scottish Parliament”.
Mundell said: "After this bill has been implemented the Scottish Parliament will have more powers and responsibilities than it has today.
"Needless to say there will be a process row with the Scottish Government, because the Scottish Government does process rows — that is their speciality."
But both the Scottish and Welsh governments have ruled out giving legislative consent to the UK Government’s proposals as they currently stand, while agreeing to coordinate amendments to the bill.
The joint statement from the two administrations said: “We are approaching the twentieth anniversaries of the referendums that established the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly. Those votes, and the development of devolution since 1998, provide the secure democratic basis for self-government in Scotland and Wales.
“Since the vote to leave the EU, the approach of the UK Government to withdrawal has been a rejection of the principle of devolution, and the sharing of decision making across these islands, clearly chosen by the people of Scotland and Wales.
“Most recently the UK Government has published position papers which involve the vital interests of Scotland and Wales but which have been prepared without the involvement of the devolved administrations.
“Most seriously, the UK Government’s EU (Withdrawal) Bill is an unashamed move to centralise decision making power in Westminster, cutting directly across current devolved powers and responsibilities.
“The Scottish and Welsh governments have already made clear that they cannot recommend that the Scottish Parliament and National Assembly give their necessary legislative consent to the bill. We believe that the bill must not be allowed to progress in its current form.
“To provide a constructive way forward, the Scottish and Welsh governments are now working to agree potential amendments to the bill which would address our concerns. We are also coordinating our advice to the Parliament and Assembly to ensure they fully understand our concerns and our alternative proposals.
“It will now be for the UK Government to respond positively to our suggested amendments to move negotiations forward, and ensure there is a functioning legal system on withdrawal from the EU, and agreed UK structures - where these are required – that reflect the views and interests of all parts of the UK, and respect devolved powers and responsibilities.”
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