Holyrood consent for Brexit bill 'unlikely' after stalemate

Written by Tom Freeman on 10 August 2017 in News

Talks between UK and Scottish ministers fail to reach agreement over the transfer of EU powers to the Scottish Parliament

Scottish Parliament - Anita Gould

The Scottish Parliament is unlikely to approve the UK Government's Brexit bill after talks between UK and Scottish ministers ended in stalemate, Scotland's Brexit minister Mike Russell has said.

Talks in Edinburgh yesterday between Russell, Deputy First Minister John Swinney and UK First Secretary of State Damian Green ended without agreement over the process of transferring powers currently in Brussels to Holyrood.

The UK Government insist all repatriated powers must go to Westminster in the first instance, but Scottish Ministers have called it a "power grab".


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Both sides confirmed there will be further talks in the coming weeks.

Speaking after the meeting, Russell said that although the Scottish Parliament cannot veto UK legislation, proceeding without consent would be "unprecedented" in the devolution journey.

“What is now needed is a recognition from the UK Government that the bill as drafted cannot proceed. It should be changed to take account of the very serious concerns expressed by the Scottish and Welsh Governments," he said.

“The current proposals are a direct threat to the devolution settlement which the people of Scotland overwhelmingly voted for in 1997.

“As we have made clear, we are not opposed in principle to UK-wide frameworks in certain areas – but this must be on the basis of agreement among equals, not imposed by Westminster.”

Green said: "I hope as these talks go on we will be able to convince them that there is absolutely the opposite of the intention of a power grab.

"We want more powers to come to the devolved administrations. That has to be done in the context of keeping free trade within the United Kingdom, but we've agreed more talks in a few weeks' time."

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