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UK Government publishes list of 24 devolved powers it wants to keep control of after Brexit

David Lidington - PA

UK Government publishes list of 24 devolved powers it wants to keep control of after Brexit

The UK Government has published a list of the areas normally devolved to Scotland and Wales that it wants to initially retain power over after Brexit.

The 24 powers include those over fisheries, environmental protections, food regulation and animal welfare, which UK ministers argue need to be kept at Westminster until a UK-wide regulatory approach is in place.

Public procurement rules currently held by the EU would also be kept at a UK level under the proposals.

Ministers had originally planned to retain all devolved areas repatriated from Brussels to Westminster in the first instance.

The Scottish and Welsh governments have described the process as undermining devolution and labelled it a “power grab” by Westminster.

First ministers Nicola Sturgeon and Carwyn Jones are due to meet Prime Minister Theresa May next week to discuss the progress of the EU Withdrawal Bill through Westminster.

Both the Scottish and Welsh governments have introduced emergency legislation in case the devolved parliaments cannot give the UK bill consent.

Cabinet Office Minister David Lidington, who met with ministers from the devolved nations yesterday, said: “It just makes sense, because we do so much so much trade across our common borders in the United Kingdom, that we have a set of common sense rules, agreed, I hope, between the different governments and laid out in legislation, that mean that producers and consumers all benefit.”

Holyrood's Brexit minister, Mike Russell, said: "This list simply confirms the UK government's plans for a power grab.

“Under the EU Withdrawal Bill the UK will have the right to take control of any of the powers on this list.

“However, the publication of the categories demonstrates the threat is most immediate in key devolved areas such as agriculture, GM crops, fishing, environmental policy, public procurement, food standards and a range of other areas.

“Unless the bill is changed Westminster could soon be in control of these policies amounting to a major power grab and a re-writing of the devolution settlement the people of Scotland voted for so decisively.”

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