Scottish and Welsh governments warn EU withdrawal bill "disregards devolution settlement"

Written by Liam Kirkaldy on 29 January 2018 in News

With the House of Lords urging the UK Government to amend the EU Withdrawal Bill, two administrations are expected to highlight shared concerns over the legislation’s effect on devolved powers

Image credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire/

Scottish Brexit minister Mike Russell will today join his Welsh counterpart, Mark Drakeford, in briefing members of the House of Lords on their concerns over the UK’s approach to Brexit.

With the House of Lords constitution committee urging the UK Government to amend the EU Withdrawal Bill, the two ministers are expected to highlight shared concerns over the legislation’s effect on devolved powers.

Scottish Conservative MPs previously received assurances that the bill would be amended to reflect concerns, but with UK ministers claiming they had run out of time to make changes in the bill’s passage through the Commons, any amendments will need to be made in the Lords.

MSPs from across the Scottish Parliament then backed a report from finance committee, which recommended consent should be withheld unless changes are made to the contentious clause of the bill.

Russell said: "Along with the Welsh government, we have made clear we are unable to recommend consent to the EU Withdrawal Bill in its current form.

"That's because it disregards the devolution settlement by allowing the UK government to take control of clearly devolved policy areas like farming and fishing.

"The Scottish and Welsh governments published amendments to the bill as far back as September to fix this issue."

The meeting with Lords follows repeated criticism from the Scottish and Welsh governments, with Nicola Sturgeon and Carwyn Jones using a joint statement to dismiss the bill as a “naked power grab” which will undermine the principles of devolution.

But a UK government spokesman told the BBC: “We have been clear there will be a significant increase in decision-making powers for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland when we leave the EU.

“The devolved administrations agree we will need common frameworks in some areas and we are in ongoing, detailed discussions with them about this.”

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