Scottish and Welsh Governments defend devolved powers

The Scottish and Welsh government have set out a list of amendments to the EU withdrawal bill that will prevent the UK government from taking control of devolved policy areas. 

Both Nicola Sturgeon and Carwyn Jones said they would only consent to the bill if it was substantially changed. The Minister for UK Negotiations on Scotland’s Place in Europe, Michael Russell, had previously identified 100 policy areas where devolved powers would be compromised were the EU withdrawal bill not amended. He said 

“The list represents an initial assessment by the UK Government of where it believes that EU competences intersect with devolution and which therefore would be affected by the restrictions in the Bill.

“We were taken aback by the size of the list that was presented to us, but it shows the scale of what is at stake.

“They represent control over agriculture, fisheries, environmental regulation, relations between Scotland’s independent legal system and our European counterparts, State Aid and many more.

“It is perfectly possible for UK-wide frameworks to be agreed, but they must not be imposed by the UK Government with no respect for the founding principles of the devolution settlement.”

The first ministers' amendments seek to ensure:

  • Devolved policy areas come back to the Scottish Parliament and National Assembly of Wales on withdrawal from the EU.
  • Prevent UK ministers unilaterally changing the Scotland Act and Government of Wales Act.
  • Require the agreement of the Scottish Government on necessary changes to current EU law in devolved areas after Brexit.
  • Ensure additional restrictions are not placed on devolved ministers compared with UK Government ministers.

Source: Scottish Government. 

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