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by Nicholas Mairs
15 March 2018
Nicola Sturgeon: deal ‘can be done’ on Brexit powers

Nicola Sturgeon: deal ‘can be done’ on Brexit powers

Nicola Sturgeon outside 10 Downing Street - Image credit: PA Images

Nicola Sturgeon has said the stalemate with the UK Government over what happens to powers relating to devolved areas after Brexit could be resolved in the coming weeks.

Following a meeting with Theresa May in Downing Street, the First Minister said differences between the UK and devolved regions are "not insignificant, but neither are they insurmountable".

Her Welsh counterpart, Carwyn Jones, who was also at the meeting, said he was "hopeful" a resolution would be found in the "next few days".

The marked change of tone comes after months of accusations from Edinburgh and Cardiff that Westminster was mounting a "power grab", while a recently leaked document found ministers were set to amend the EU Withdrawal Bill even without Scottish and Welsh support. 

Cabinet Secretary David Lidington argued that the move to put 24 areas under London control immediately after the UK leaves the EU would avoid short-term confusion in areas such as food hygiene, chemicals and animal welfare.

Following yesterday’s crunch talks, Sturgeon said it was a "very important issue of principle" for Holyrood, but that an agreement with the UK would be possible.

"We can't have our powers restricted or reduced without the consent of the Scottish Parliament," she said.

"I believe there are ways we can abide by that principle while still addressing some of the concerns of the UK government.

She added: "I think a deal can be done. There is still some way to go, but there is a willingness, indeed a determination, to see if we can get there."

Theresa May yesterday pledged a settlement that would “that delivers an unprecedented democratic dividend” for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland".

The First Minister also voiced her support for Theresa May's actions on Russia following the nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy and his daughter in Salisbury.

She said: "We were united in condemnation of Russia’s actions and I expressed my support for the initial steps that the Prime Minister has outlined.

"As legislation is brought forward we will scrutinise that carefully, but it is very clear that Russia cannot be permitted to unlawfully kill, or attempt to kill people, on the streets of the UK with impunity."

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