Scottish Government to meet Tories for more Brexit talks

Meeting takes place ahead of Commons debate on European Union (Withdrawal) Bill.

Holyrood: Tories accused of Brexit power grab. ©Shahbaz Majeed & licensed for reuse under this licence Image cropped

Senior ministers from the Scottish and UK governments will hold further talks over Brexit as key legislation reaches a vital stage.

Amendments seeking to change the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill's impact on devolution are due to be debated by MPs in the commons on Monday December 4.

Ahead of that, and with the Scottish and Welsh administrations still refusing to grant legislative consent to the Bill, first secretary Damian Green will travel to Scotland for talks with deputy first minister John Swinney and Scottish Brexit minister Mike Russell.

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Ministers in both Edinburgh and Cardiff have previously branded the legislation a "power grab" as responsibilities for devolved areas would be returned from Brussels to London, so UK-wide frameworks in areas such as agriculture can be drawn up.

The UK Government claims control over these areas would then be given to the devolved administrations at a later stage.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, Russell stated: "We have made good progress of late on the issue of UK frameworks. Now we have to see proof of the UK Government's intentions to amend the EU Withdrawal Bill so that devolution is protected.

"In its current form the Scottish Government could not recommend that parliament gives legislative consent to the Bill. A successful outcome of these discussions requires both agreement on frameworks and amendments to the Bill.

"People in Scotland voted to stay in the EU and the Scottish Government opposes Brexit but we recognise the need for legislation to prepare for that eventuality."

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Scottish secretary David Mundell, who is also taking part in the talks in Edinburgh on Thursday afternoon, said he hoped to have "further constructive discussions with the Scottish Government today on how powers are repatriated from the EU to the UK".

Mundell was caught out in October after he was unable to identify a single power that would be returned to the Scottish Parliament after Brexit.

Scotland voted to stay in the EU by 62% to 38%, and now faces being dragged out of the union of 28 countries against the will of the majority of its people.

Around 134,000 jobs in Scotland are tied to European trade, according to a report published earlier this week.

Scottish charities, universities and research institutions are also set to lose out when EU investment is cut off, while taxpayers are likely to face bills of more than £1000 each as the UK pays off the so-called Brexit 'divorce bill'.

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