UK and Scottish ministers in continued Brexit talks

Scottish Brexit Minister Mike Russell
Scottish Brexit Minister Mike Russell

The UK and Scottish governments will today continue Brexit talks in Edinburgh.

Discussions are expected to focus on arrangements under the EU (Withdrawal) Bill for distributing powers returned from Brussels and identifying where common frameworks will and will not be needed.

First Secretary of State Damian Green and Scottish Secretary David Mundell will meet Deputy First Minister John Swinney and Scottish Brexit minister Mike Russell.

Mr Green said: “In some areas there will need to be a common approach.

“There will be other areas where I intend that the Scottish and UK governments can make progress in identifying policy areas that could be released to Holyrood under the new legislative arrangements.

“We expect there will be a significant increase in the decision-making power of each devolved administration.”

But Mr Russell accused the UK Government of pursing an “extreme Brexit” and called for the “attempted power grab” to be “abandoned”.

He added: “It is essential that they change the EU (Withdrawal) Bill, which represents a fundamental attack on the principles of devolution.

“The bill – as it currently stands – means that Westminster would take exclusive control over significant areas of devolved policy, such as support for Scotland’s farmers and food producers and many aspects of environmental protection and control of our seas.

“We know that the UK Government has its eye on more than 100 policy areas. That is a direct threat to the devolution settlement which the people of Scotland overwhelmingly voted for in 1997.

“Both we and the Welsh Government have made it clear we could not recommend legislative consent to the bill as it stands, and today we will make clear that changes must be made to protect devolution.”