Scottish, Welsh government heads aim to stop 'blatant power grab' after Brexit

Scotland's First Minister will meet her Welsh counterpart in Edinburgh to discuss their opposition to the Brexit Repeal Bill

22 August 2017, 8:05am
Jones and Sturgeon say their governments are working together to ensure devolution is not damaged by Brexit
Jones and Sturgeon say their governments are working together to ensure devolution is not damaged by Brexit
The head of devolved governments in Scotland and Wales will meet on Tuesday to try to set a common strategy to protect parliamentary powers which they say are under threat from Britain's plan to leave the European Union.

Nicola Sturgeon and Carwyn Jones claim Westminster is planning to use the EU Withdrawal Bill to launch a "power grab" on the devolved governments.

Both Wales and Scotland plan to reject legislation which severs Britain's legal ties with the European Union, once known as the Great Repeal Bill, when it is brought before the devolved chambers in Cardiff and Edinburgh.

That rebuff would not represent a veto in the Brexit process. However, it would worsen Britain's constitutional tensions by forcing the UK government to fly in the face of democratic convention and ignore the expressed wish of the devolved bodies, which decide on most domestic policies such as health and education.

"The Scottish government is doing all we can to prevent an extreme Brexit, keep the UK in the (European) single market and protect devolution," Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said ahead of the meeting with Welsh counterpart Carwyn Jones.

Jones described the Brexit legislation as "quite simply a blatant power grab from Whitehall which is not in the interest of people in Wales and the other devolved administrations."

But the UK government insists Brexit will see more powers devolved to both nations.

Ahead of the meeting, they accused the UK government of attempting to impose its will on the other constituent parts of the UK rather than seeking agreement and partnership over the Brexit process.

"Both during and after the EU referendum, new powers were promised to Holyrood but instead the UK Government is planning to impose new restrictions on the Scottish Parliament,” Sturgeon said.

"The UK Government's EU (Withdrawal) Bill returns powers, even in devolved policy areas, solely to Westminster.

"Both the Scottish and the Welsh governments have been clear that this power grab cannot be allowed to take place."

She added: "I am looking forward to discussing with Carwyn Jones how we can work together to change the bill so that devolution and the interests of the people of Scotland and Wales can be protected.

"As it stands, it is inconceivable that we would recommend that the Scottish Parliament gives its consent to the legislation.

"We have said repeatedly that we are willing to talk constructively with the UK government on future arrangements. But this has to be on the basis of agreement and partnership, not imposition."