Scottish and Welsh governments refuse to back so-called Repeal Bill
The two administrations warn EU (Withdrawal) Bill “does not respect the devolution powers of either the Scottish Parliament or the National Assembly for Wales”
Image credit: PA
The Scottish and Welsh governments have agreed they cannot support the UK Government’s so-called Repeal Bill as it currently stands, warning it “does not respect the devolution powers of either the Scottish Parliament or the National Assembly for Wales”.
Following a meeting between the two administrations, Welsh Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford and Scottish Brexit minister Mike Russell released a statement outlining concerns over the EU (Withdrawal) Bill, which will transfer EU legislation into UK law, saying it does not “fulfil promises made by the UK Government”.
The statement follows repeated expressions of frustration from Scotland and Wales over the UK’s approach to Brexit, with Nicola Sturgeon and Carwyn Jones having previously dismissed the bill as a “naked power grab” which will undermine the principles of devolution.
Publishing the bill earlier this month, Scottish Secretary David Mundell said the plan was designed to maintain the British single market, with powers only devolved from Whitehall if divergence from the UK framework is deemed to be acceptable.
Speaking at a briefing in London, Mundell rejected criticism from opposition parties. He said: "This is not a power grab – it is a power bonanza for the Scottish Parliament.
"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."
The Joint Ministerial Committee allows dialogue between different UK administrations, including devolved governments, on matters which concern them.
But the UK Government has faced criticism from the Scottish Government over its approach to the meetings, with Scottish Brexit minister Mike Russell describing meetings between the Scottish and UK governments as a “a wasted opportunity”.
Speaking after today’s meeting, Drakeford and Russell said: “Today's meeting was another positive and useful opportunity to discuss some of the shared concerns both countries have around the UK's exit from the European Union.
“The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, as it stands, does not respect the devolution powers of either the Scottish Parliament or the National Assembly for Wales or fulfil promises made by the UK Government.
“We have agreed that we can’t back the bill as it stands and will continue to work together to reverse the attempt to take powers from Scottish Parliament and National Assembly for Wales.
“We will continue to press the UK Government that they enter into negotiations with both devolved administrations on the bill on the basis that we are equal partners on an issue that will have a hugely significant impact on the future of our economy and society.”
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