Damian Green hopeful of Brexit bill common ground with devolved administrations

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The Government is moving closer to agreement with the devolved administrations in Scotland and Wales on its flagship Brexit legislation, First Secretary Damian Green has said.

Ministers in Scotland and Wales accused Westminster of a “power grab” and warned they will not pass the necessary “legislative consent motions” to enable the EU (Withdrawal) Bill to become law unless there are changes.

But giving evidence to the House of Lords EU Committee, Mr Green – who has been leading the talks with the devolved administrations – said he hoped it would be possible to reach a common understanding.

He said it was in the interests of all parts of the UK that the bill – which transposes EU laws onto the UK statute book – was passed, ensuring there would still be a working legal framework once Britain has left the EU.

“I am not just being hopeful. I have observed over the past three months the degree of of progress that we have made,” Mr Green said.

“It is clearly not in the interests of people in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland for there not to be a working statute book.

“Equally nor is it in any of their interests for there to be barriers to trade between the different parts of the UK.

“So in a sense we have a common interest – the UK Government and all the devolved administrations – in making sure that we get to a satisfactory position here.

“There are obvious differences of emphasis but I genuinely think that we can come together in common agreement.”